Keystone Pipeline Will Be Stopped By A Miracle

200 Christians and other faiths gather at pre-rally prayer service.

People of Faith are in the ‘miracle business’

An estimated 200 people of faith gathered in Washington, D.C., on Sunday morning in preparation for the Forward on Climate Rally on the National Mall. The brief prayer service preceded the larger rally of an estimated 40,000 people urging President Barack Obama to take action against climate change and to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.

Mirele Goldsmith of Jews Against Hydrofracking reminded the gathering of faithful that in Jewish teaching “if something is right it is kosher and if it is wrong it is not kosher.” Climate change, she said, is “not kosher.” Opening the Alberta tar sands to exploitation is “not kosher.” She offered a traditional Jewish blessing to be said when one encounters natural wonders.

Alycia Ashburn, climate change organizer for the Christian social justice group Sojourners, offered a rousing roll call of the groups present for the prayer service in sub-freezing temperatures with a 20 mph wind, including co-sponsor Interfaith Power & Light (MD.DC.NoVA), Catholic Workers, Franciscan Action Network, The Shalom Center, Christians for the Mountains, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, Green Faith, Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, Karuna Buddhist Vihara, Kids vs Global Warming, Maryknoll, and Green Hevra.

Sojourners’ Rose Berger fired up the group by saying, “Some people claim it will take a miracle to turn the oil companies around. Some people say it will take a miracle to reverse climate change. It’s a good thing we are people in the miracle business. We understand the mechanics of miracles and we are going to make it happen. As people of faith, we are the leaven, the yeast of this movement. We are the catalyst. Let’s move forward on climate in the wonder-working power of the Spirit.”

As the interreligious, multi-faith rally marched down the National Mall toward the Washington Monument, they joined forces with Unitarian Universalists and Jews for Peace as they all moved into the main body of the demonstration. On stage the Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus and Methodist environmentalist Bill McKibben stirred up the crowd by preaching “By God, we are going to stop this [Keystone XL] pipeline and get this country to take action on climate change.”

Correction: An earlier version of this post identified Mirele Goldsmith as with Greater Washington Interfaith Power & Light, which is now known as Interfaith Power & Light (MD.DC.NoVA).

See more coverage here:

http://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2013/02/17/1926493/
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/18/business/energy-environment/obamas-keystone-pipeline-decision-risks-new-problems-either-way.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-17/thousands-protest-keystone-pipeline-in-washington-march.html

TransCanada: ‘Sorry for the Disruption. We’ll be Playing Gentle Music and Getting Bolt Cutters’


In the category of “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up,” anti-Keystone XL hero Ramsey Sprague chained himself to the sound equipment at a pipeline industry conference in Texas this week. He interrupted the speech of TransCanada’s manager of quality and compliance, Tom Hamilton.

Sprague used his bully pulpit to explain the colossal dangers represented by opening up the tar sands and transporting nontraditional bitumen crude to refineries and the world market. When security guards asked him for the keys to his chain lock, he said he didn’t have them.

This situation prompted the exchange that should go down in history (and thanks, once again, to Democracy Now! for covering it):

Official: “Ladies and gentlemen, I’d just like to say I apologize for this disruption. We’ll be playing some gentle music and be getting some bolt cutters, and we will resume as soon as we can. Unfortunately, we can’t remove the speaker without shutting down the whole system. But we will be resuming as soon as possible. Thank you so much, and again we apologize for this.”

Ramsey Sprague: “I really apologize that TransCanada is a terrible actor stealing land from my friends in order to facilitate a toxic tar sands pipeline that is full of holes!”

Come to the National Mall on Feb. 17 to rally for presidential leadership on climate change and against the Keystone XL pipeline.

Read more about Ramsey’s work here.

Video: ‘Developing Tar Sands Means Losing Control of the Climate’

“If we fully develop the tar sands, we will certainly lose control of the climate. We will get to a point where we can not walk back from the cliff,” says climate scientist Dr. John Abraham. The Keystone XL pipeline is the lynch pin to developing the tar sands in Alberta.

As many of you know, I’ve been paying attention to the Keystone pipeline development since 2011 when it was under review by the State Department. I joined a group of religious leaders to deliver thousands of petitions to Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, asking her to to stop the pipeline. I said to her, “If this decision about the pipeline was made purely based on the climate science, we wouldn’t be here having this discussion.” She didn’t disagree. The exploitation of tar sands will significantly worsen the climate.

Now, new scientific data shows that developing the tar sands (and the pipeline to carry it) is worse than previously known. The video above shows climate scientists countering the notion that the climate impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline are small compared to total U.S. global greenhouse gas emissions. Nathan Lemphers, a Senior Policy Analyst with the Pembina Institute, details how the Keystone XL is a critical ingredient to significant expansion of tar sands. He dispels the myth being promoted by the tar sands oil industry that tar sands development is inevitable with our without Keystone XL. That’s not true. All other routes are similarly being blocked.

Lorne Stockman, Research Director for Oil Change International, announced new research that shows that the emissions from tar sands oil are worse than originally believed. This is because the climate emissions from a byproduct of tar sands, petroleum coke which is made in the refinery process and is used in coal-fired power plants, have not been previously considered. “If Keystone is approved,” says Dr. Danny Harvey, professor at the University of Toronto, “we’re locking in several more decades of fossil fuels and higher levels of carbon dioxide and global warming.”

“Climate change is the story related to Keystone. The drought and heat wave in Texas cost Texans $5.2 billion. Hurricane Sandy cost us $70 billion,” says Dr. John Abraham, climate scientist at the University of St. Thomas. “Some people say it’s too expensive to develop clean energy. I say it’s too expensive not to.”

After the largest climate protests in U.S. history were held in Washington, D.C., in 2011, the fight against the Keystone XL went back to the regions along the pipeline route.

Hundreds have been arrested in their attempts to block the bulldozers. There are farmers engaged in numerous local law suits against TransCanada’s pressure on local governments to use “imminent domain” to force them to give up their property to the corporation. There are First Nations and American Indian communities in treaty battles to keep TransCanada’s massive machinery off their lands.

There are Buddhist nuns walking the pipeline route in prayers for the earth and her people. A 92-year-old Lakota grandmother stood in front and blocked the giant rigs hauling pipe. Twenty-somethings are launching “tree sits” in the construction path. A Baptist church in Nacogdoches, Texas, near the pipeline route, has launched a new young adult and youth ministry specifically for and with Keystone XL activists.

On Feb. 17, the movement will come back to Washington, D.C.

You come too. We need you. Now is the time for all good Americans to come to the aid of their country. And for all good Christians to come to the aid of our world’s most vulnerable.