D.C. police have arrested 160 people and counting, in response to a non-violent protest against the Keystone XL Tar Sands pipeline. Among those arrested– Bill McKibben, prolific environmental author and co-founder of 350.org. Released today after three days in jail, McKibben encouraged the continuation of the two-week protest, which is taking place in front of the White House.
The proposed pipeline, which would in fact be a network of pipelines spanning the U.S. and Canada, is a disaster waiting to happen – a plan to tap an enormous carbon reserve that would dramatically increase CO2 emissions and put millions of Americans and Canadians at risk.
Oil spills in America’s heartland and water contamination from drilling byproducts would become commonplace. Not to mention that oil from tar sands is an inefficient energy source, requiring enormous effort to extract – a desperate asset that oil companies plan to exploit only because they have nowhere else to turn. In May, Earthjustice filed a suit against the State Department, which refused to release communications with lobbyists for the pipeline.
McKibben is following in the footsteps of Thoreau, Susan B. Anthony, Gandhi and Dr. King by using civil disobedience as a way to protest the pipeline, which he calls a “1,500-mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent.”
Below is a short video by filmmaker Josh Fox (Gasland) on the importance of this disobedience. McKibben sums up the bottom line with a metaphor, referencing the president’s veto power. “It is Obama alone with the ball at the foul line. Will he take the 20-foot jump shot or will he pass?”
For updates on the protest and ways that you can get involved, visit the “Stop the Pipeline” website.