13 arrested at TransCanada headquarters
For these people, getting arrested was a very big deal.
There were 13 of them. A teacher. A great-grandmother who wrote the names of her great grandchildren Matthew and Mark on her sign. Some were Texan land owners. Others people of faith. And two had until recently worked in the oil industry — but then decided they had to take a stand for our climate.1
The last of the 13 to be arrested was a grandfather. He’d had to explain to his grandson why he would be getting arrested blocking the door of the foreign oil company that wants to build the Keystone XL pipeline across the U.S.
The prospect of spending a night in a Houston jail is not to be taken lightly. Risking arrest in Texas is serious business. And the two dozen police officers on hand did their best to convince these activists to step aside and avoid arrest. The Houston police warned that protesters would face 180 days in jail or a fine of $1,000. It was explained that a criminal misdemeanor would go on their permanent records. It was intense. It was intimidating. But the 13 protesters did not move.
Instead, they held their ground at TransCanada’s U.S. headquarters in downtown Houston, to send the message to President Obama that he must put Americans interests ahead of a foreign oil company.2
This is what courage looks like. This is what commitment looks like. And their action is all the more powerful because they are backed up by another 75,000 of us who have signed the Pledge of Resistance.
In order to ensure that President Obama rejects Keystone XL, we need to take the next step to show him just how real that commitment is for us. Now you can.
Over the summer, more than 450 activists were trained on how to plan and lead a local sit-in in their community – like the action yesterday in Houston, and this summer in Chicago and Washington, DC.
We just announced some of the local-sit ins that are being planned across the country, to be deployed when and if the Obama Administration recommends approval of Keystone XL.
On Sunday, I arrived at the church where the activists who planned to risk arrest were training for the following day’s action. There was an incredible team of organizers there — from Rainforest Action Network, Other 98%, and Tar Sands Blockade — ready to support people who would soon be risking arrest for the first time in their lives.
We believe that the very real threat of mass civil disobedience can help convince our president to reject this pipeline. But training, coaching and supporting tens of thousands of volunteers to engage in civil disobedience is a huge undertaking and we need your help to make it work.
Not everyone is ready to risk arrest. And there are roles in local-sit ins groups both for people risking arrest, and to support those who are risking arrest.
But if a great grandmother in Texas is willing to go to jail in Houston, then I know there are a lot more folks out there all across the country who are willing to step up, too.
The fact is – President Obama is probably looking for any excuse at all to go ahead and approve Keystone XL. The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently wrote a letter to the President offering concessions to clean-up the tar sands extraction process in exchange for approval of Keystone XL.3 Canada can’t reduce climate emissions from the tar sands while speeding their extraction thanks to Keystone XL – but it might be a good enough excuse for President Obama to say yes to this foreign oil pipeline.
Direct pressure on the President has been the most effective tool to stop Keystone XL so far. If we can show the President that tens of thousands of people across the country are prepared to risk arrest if his administration determines that Keystone XL is in the national interest, it will be too politically painful for him to approve it.
The folks in Houston yesterday sent a very loud, very brave message: Even in the oil state of Texas, activists are deeply committed to getting President Obama to fight climate change.
Thanks for fighting Keystone XL.
1. “Photo gallery of the sit-in in Houston 2. “Keystone XL protesters arrested at TransCanada in Houston,” Houston Business Journal, 9/16/13
3. “Seeking Keystone XL Backing, Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper Pens Letter To Obama, 9/6/13
Put the #HeatOnDenial The Climate Reality Project
The Climate Reality Project (TCRP) is launching a petition to Russ Girling, CEO, TransCanada, and taking of one of the biggest climate controversies ever!
If built, the Keystone XL pipeline would exponentially increase carbon pollution at a time when continuing extreme weather events, rising health impacts, and growing social costs highlight its devastating consequences for climate change. President Obama has gone on record stating that he’ll only approve the pipeline if it doesn’t significantly contribute to climate change.
TCRP is putting climate deniers like Russ Girling on notice that the Keystone XL pipeline would be a catastrophe for the planet. Join TCRP in writing Mr. Girling to let him know you’ll stop at nothing to make sure everyone this pipeline will harm knows it too!
The “Big Oil” Caucus
This week, Congress has the chance to take a step in the right direction.
Today or tomorrow, the U.S. Senate is set to vote on amendments to the Shaheen-Portman Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act. This broadly supported, bipartisan bill would reduce consumers’ energy costs by $4 billion and create 80,000 jobs.
But now, a small group of senators working on behalf of Big Oil are attempting to hijack the bill to promote the highly polluting Keystone XL pipeline.
As you know well, Keystone XL would mean millions of tons of new carbon pollution entering the air, dozens of newly polluted waterways, and poisoned communities all across the Midwest. The impact on the climate would be catastrophic — the equivalent of seven coal-fired power plants operating continuously for 50 years. Not to mention, the pipeline would run through — not to — the United States, so the oil can be shipped overseas all to the benefit of a foreign oil company.
That’s the definition of a real poison pill. It’s a shameful tactic even by the standards of Washington’s climate denier caucus.
Tell your senators to oppose the poison pill in the Shaheen-Portman efficiency legislation:
- Stand Up to the Keystone XL Corporate Bosses (understory.ran.org)
- Keystone XL protesters arrested at TransCanada in Houston (bizjournals.com)
- Keystone XL protesters arrested in downtown Houston (video) (fuelfix.com)
- The Keystone XL Endgame Is On (businessweek.com)
- Advocates: Keystone XL pipeline sends wrong message (upi.com)
- 13 arrested at Keystone XL pipeline protest (newsfixnow.com)
- Keystone XL (sunsetdaily.wordpress.com)
- Houston Keystone XL Protest: 13 Arrested Outside TransCanada Office In Texas (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Keep The Keystone XL Pipeline Off Our Land (sunsetdaily.wordpress.com)
- Southern Leg of Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Flunks Climate Test Too (readersupportednews.org)