Sierra Club Turns To Civil Disobedience To Stop Keystone

By @TrishaMarczakMP |
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    Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D,  walks toward a illustration of the Keystone Pipeline and proposed expansions, after a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. A key approval of a revised route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast puts the long-delayed project back in the hands of the U.S. government.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D, walks toward a illustration of the Keystone Pipeline and proposed expansions, after a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. A key approval of a revised route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast puts the long-delayed project back in the hands of the U.S. government. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


    (MintPress) – While the Sierra Club is considered a moderate environmental organization focused on practical natural preservation, it’s now turning up the gears to battle construction of the Keystone Pipeline, intended to transport oil from the Alberta tar sands in Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

    “For civil disobedience to be justified something must be so wrong that it compels the strongest defensible protest,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a Jan. 22 statement. “Such a protest, if rendered thoughtfully and peacefully, is in fact a profound act of patriotism.”

    Brune said in the statement that his organization will take part in an act of civil disobedience next month, although did not specifically state where and when it will take place.

    Brune sees the new wave of Sierra Club activism as a last resort, claiming the organization has exhausted its options.

    Typical Sierra Club actions have been rather diplomatic, including lobbying, litigation, grassroots activism, education and working within the electoral system to promote its principles. Through this, Brune said the organization has been successful in halting the construction of more than 170 coal plants and working to close another 129.

    And while it has seen success, Brune claims the threats at hand now to the future of the environment are too great to allow without new efforts to halt the practice.

    “The stakes are enormous,” Brune wrote. “At this point, we can’t afford to lose a single major battle.”

    The $7 billion proposed Keystone Pipeline has been the enemy of environmental activists, who point to the implications of a pipeline that would transport up to 800,000 barrels of oil each day from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, through six U.S. states to the Gulf.

    President Barack Obama has delayed decisions on the construction of the pipelines twice since 2008, but a final decision is expected within the next few months. The State Department has said the complete review of the pipeline will be wrapped up by the end of March. Obama’s delay of the project has caused outrage among both conservatives and the labor union organizations, who point to job creation as a necessity for the U.S. economy — but critics have never second-guessed that Obama intends to give the go-ahead for its creation.

    Brune pointed out the irony of Obama’s likely action on the pipeline, pointing to the president’s inaugural address, in which he said now is the time to fight the causes of climate change and challenged American citizens to “shape the debates of our time, not only with the votes we cast, but the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideas.”


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