Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

New Yorkers Tell Obama: No Keystone XL, Yes Renewables

New Yorkers Tell Obama: No Keystone XL, Yes Renewables

Sane Energy Project

Yesterday, when President Obama came to New York City for a fundraiser at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, more than 500 people were there to greet him. They came in force with signs and banners to remind him of their opposition to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, as well as local natural gas pipelines like Spectra and the Rockaway Pipeline.

More than 500 people rallied in front of the Waldorf Astoria hotel yesterday, where President Obama was attending a fundraiser. Photo credit: Gili Getz

The crowd of people gathered in Bryant Park, where Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping kicked off the event, and then the group marched down Sixth Avenue and rallied in front of the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Representatives from several sponsor organizations, along with a number of other concerned citizens, addressed the crowd, discussing the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy, their concerns about Keystone XL and local natural gas pipelines, and their hopes for a clean energy future. The crowd wore yellow and orange, colors which symbolize renewable energy and the Occupy Sandy movement.

The calls for clean energy were particularly poignant in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, whose effects are still being felt by many New York City residents. Many speakers and participants discussed the continuing devastation resulting from the hurricane and the urgent need to replace fossil fuels with cleaner, safer energy sources.

Albert Carcaterra, a teenage resident of Rockaway Park, an area heavily impacted by Hurricane Sandy, echoed the sentiments of many rally participants: “The time for change is now, not later!”

"In October, New York City saw firsthand the impacts of climate change when Hurricane Sandy devastated our city," said Lyna Hinkel, of 350 NYC. "If President Obama is serious about addressing this problem, he has an obligation to us to reject the Keystone XL pipeline and move away from dirty energy. We will also continue to fight local natural gas pipelines and will not accept natural gas as an alternative."

The event was focused specifically on the development of oil and gas pipelines

“The presence of pipelines in the U.S. tethers us to fossil fuels and makes us further dependent upon sources of energy that are poisoning our water, polluting our air and rapidly changing our climate,” said Patrick Robbins, a member of Occupy the Pipeline.

“Fossil fuel interests benefit from promulgating the notion that organized labor supports Keystone XL. The truth is that organized labor is destined to play a leading role in fighting climate change," said Bruce Hamilton, vice president of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) who discussed the support from organized labor for rejecting oil and gas, and instead developing clean energy. "We need jobs. But we don't need jobs that poison workers, destroy communities and leave the planet uninhabitable."

“President Obama has an obligation to my generation, the generation of his own daughters, to make the right decision, the smart decision," said Sophie Lasoff, a 19-year-old student organizer with NYU Divest, who emphasized the passion and energy among young people advocating for clean energy. "Because if he doesn't, he should be prepared to have a lot of passionate young people on his hands. Past generations have made a choice to value profit over life. We will no longer stand for that choice. The fossil fuel industry has all the money and power in the world. But we have something that they don't have—something worth fighting for.”

The fight over Keystone XL has energized millions and has become a real test of President Obama's commitment to dealing with the climate crisis. Keystone XL would transport 830,000 thousand barrels a day of the world's dirtiest oil and would open up development of the Canadian tar sands, among the largest carbon bombs on the planet.

For the past several months activists have met President Obama at nearly all of his public events and demanded that he reject the permit for the pipeline. “I'm here to make sure President Obama knows that wherever he goes, we will remind him that we are ready to put ourselves on the line,” said JK Canepa, of Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline.

The event was co-sponsored by a broad coalition of local and national environmental and social justice organizations, including 350 NYC, 350 NJ, 350.org, 99Rise, Brooklyn For Peace, Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline (CARP), CREDO, CUNY Divest, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Global Kids Inc., Green Party of NY, Human Impacts Institute, NYC Friends of Clearwater, NYU Divest, Occupy the Pipeline, Occupy Sandy, Restore the Rock, Sane Energy Project, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, Sierra Club, United for Action, World Can't Wait, WESPAC and You Are Never Alone (YANA).

Visit EcoWatch’s KEYSTONE XL page for more related news on this topic.



In an ad released by Republican Voters Against Trump, former coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye roasted the president for his response. Republican Voters Against Trump / YouTube

Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Climate Group

Every September for the past 11 years, non-profit the Climate Group has hosted Climate Week NYC, a chance for business, government, activist and community leaders to come together and discuss solutions to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less


A field of sunflowers near the Mehrum coal-fired power station, wind turbines and high-voltage lines in the Peine district of Germany on Aug. 3, 2020. Julian Stratenschulte / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Elliot Douglas

The coronavirus pandemic has altered economic priorities for governments around the world. But as wildfires tear up the west coast of the United States and Europe reels after one of its hottest summers on record, tackling climate change remains at the forefront of economic policy.

Read More Show Less
Monarch butterflies in Mexico's Oyamel forest in Michoacan, Mexico after migrating from Canada. Luis Acosta / AFP / Getty Images

By D. André Green II

One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.

Read More Show Less
The 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony on Sept. 17 introduced ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners, each intended to make people "laugh then think." Improbable Research / YouTube

The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch