A True Climate Legacy? Obama Can Block the Keystone XL Pipeline

© Sierra Club
The November 2012 "Stop Keystone XL" rally in Washington, DC.

While I was inspired when I heard President Obama mention climate disruption during a post-Superstorm Sandy press conference, I’m hoping it isn't just more lip service.

I grew more and more frustrated during election season as neither Mitt Romney nor President Obama mentioned the very real threats from climate disruption to our nation and our planet. It unfortunately took a deadly mega-storm hitting the East Coast to draw out any mentions of climate from many of our elected officials.

Now, I and so many other Americans are waiting to see what our elected officials will do -- and we are especially watching President Obama. He has the opportunity create an amazing legacy of action on climate. President Obama can help usher in more clean energy, as well as promoting responsible rebuilding along our coast so that future storms do not affect as many people.

Yet one of the biggest actions President Obama can take is one hundreds of thousands of Americans have been demanding for years now: Say no to the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.

While we haven't heard much from the President on Keystone XL recently, we've certainly been hearing the continued drumbeat against it from so many activists nationwide.

Just last week one Texas landowner stood up to TransCanada's Keystone XL construction on his own property. "Bring 'em on. I'm a United States Marine. I'm not afraid of anyone. I'm not afraid of them," said Mike Bishop. "When I'm done with them, they will know that they've been in a fight. I may not win, but I'm going to hurt them."

The Sierra Club is standing firm with Mike, and with farmers and ranchers up and down the 1,700 mile route of the proposed pipeline. This summer we sued the Army Corps of Engineers over illegal shortcuts it’s taking in Texas and Oklahoma. We’re standing up to these tar sands pipelines because they threaten families and landowners along the route, and every American everywhere.

Tar sands are Canada's fasting-growing source of climate-disrupting pollution. If President Obama meant what he said in his recent speech about urgent action needed to stop climate change, then he must block Keystone XL and its massive climate-disrupting pollution.

Meanwhile, we continue to hammer home that Keystone XL’s environmental review must include a review of the tar sands' effects on climate disruption. As my colleague Trey Pollard said in a Business Week article, "The review will be a meaningless document unless it includes a serious review of the very serious climate impacts of the tar sands development the pipeline will trigger."
© Sierra Club

From civil disobedience to continued pressure on President Obama to stop the pipeline, Americans are not backing down and letting TransCanada push Keystone XL through.

That's why we're happy to announce another major "Say No to Keystone XL" rally for 2013. Join us on February 17 -- Presidents Day Weekend -- for the next massive gathering.

A year ago, our movement came together and convinced President Obama to take a year to study the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Now the year (and the election) is over. Mother Nature has filed her public comments: the hottest year in American history, a horrible ongoing drought, and Superstorm Sandy. But the oil industry is pushing as hard as ever for their pet project, and we need to show the president the connection between decisions to import tar sands and a future full of Sandys.

So, on Presidents Day weekend, a weekend dedicated to the legacy of great leaders and one month after the President’s second inauguration -- we are asking you join us at a climate rally in Washington D.C. on Sunday, February 17.

Join thousands of Americans like Mike Bishop who are taking on TransCanada and urging President Obama to say no to Keystone XL.

Tags: Global Climate Change | Global Warming Causes | Oil | Oil Spill | Tar Sands