Climate Leaders Gather Outside White House to Demand
President Stop Construction of Keystone XL’s Southern Leg
7,000+ Petition Signatures from All 50 States Being Delivered to White House
During Peaceful Action in Support of Texas Landowners
Contacts: Tom Weis at 303-378-1364 (mobile)
Michael Bishop at 936-715-9338 (home)
November 7, 2013 (Washington, DC) – Today, climate justice leaders peaceably assembled outside the White House to demand that the Obama administration intervene to stop the construction of the nearly completed 485-mile southern leg of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma.
There were there to deliver to the White House a petition signed by more than 7,000 people from all 50 states calling on the tar sands pipeline to be stopped in its entirety. The petition is endorsed by Daryl Hannah; Ed Begley, Jr.; Mariel Hemingway; Lester Brown; Julia Butterfly Hill; Paul Hawken; James Hansen; Tim DeChristopher; Debra White Plume; and many others.
Texas landowner Michael Bishop, who won a court injunction in 2012 temporarily stopping the pipeline’s construction, and who has filed other lawsuits to permanently shut it down, said, “TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline has destroyed my property and the future of my children and grandchildren and was approved and promoted by President Obama.” He continued, “I stand with Tom Weis in challenging this administration to stop speaking out of both sides of their mouth and to take a stand against this pipeline being completed. The climate crisis demands that all tar sands development in Canada be stopped. This administration must wake up to the lion at our doorstep.”
TransCanada has also taken part of Julia Trigg Crawford’s family farm through eminent domain for Keystone XL’s southern leg, a taking she is appealing to the Texas Supreme Court. “Today this monster pipeline lies quiet and empty beneath my family’s Texas farm, and I stand firm with others in demanding it stay that way,” she said. “The risks are too great to allow this pipeline to go on line and threaten our homes with toxic tar sands. President Obama, it is not too late to right this great wrong.”
Tom Weis, president of Climate Crisis Solutions, who pedaled the petition more than 485 miles to the White House, played off of words the president spoke when he flew to Cushing, Oklahoma last March to fast track construction of the pipeline’s southern leg. “Today we are calling on the president to direct his administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make stopping the construction of Keystone XL’s southern leg a priority, to go ahead and get it done,” Weis said. He was in the first wave of 1,253 activists arrested outside the White House during a 2011 protest against Keystone XL, spending two nights in a DC cellblock with Bill McKibben and 63 others.
“For Gulf Coast communities of color that are forced to breathe poisoned refinery air, KXL South would spell even more dangerous toxic emissions,” said Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson Ron Seifert. “KXL South is an environmental justice issue, and the only way President Obama can be on the right side of justice is if he acts to block the pipeline before it goes online.”
Renewing a call he originally made in 2010, when he pedaled 2,500 miles from Boulder, CO to Washington, DC in support of a national goal of 100% renewable electricity for the U.S. by 2020, Weis concluded, “The severity of the climate crisis demands a green energy ‘moon shot’ for America. It’s time for our generation to stand up and do something great.”
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7,000 Petition Signatures Telling President to Stop Construction of Keystone XL’s 485-Mile Southern Leg Being Pedaled 485 Miles From Cleveland to White House
Green Energy “Moon Shot” Urged in Response to Worsening Climate Crisis
October 14, 2013 (Cleveland, OH) – Today, a 485-mile journey was launched by Ohio native Tom Weis to deliver more than 7,000 signatures on a petition telling President Obama to stop construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma. The petition is being delivered via “rocket trike” from Cleveland-based EcoWatch to the White House.
The petition is endorsed by Daryl Hannah; Tim DeChristopher; Ed Begley, Jr.; Mariel Hemingway; Dr. James Hansen; Julia Butterfly Hill; Lester Brown; Paul Hawken; and others.
Keystone XL’s 485-mile southern leg has been described as a linchpin for expanded tar sands development that, if not stopped, would transport more than half a million barrels of toxic tar sands daily from landlocked Alberta to Texas port refineries. The tar sands pipeline is currently 95% built, with TransCanada hoping to bring it on line by the end of this year.
Warning that the pipeline would accelerate the growth of one of the most polluting fuels on the planet, Stefanie Spear, founder and CEO of EcoWatch, said, “Stopping the construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline is one of the most important steps in preventing irreversible damage to our climate.”
“A false narrative has taken hold that President Obama has not yet made a decision about the Keystone pipeline,” said Tom Weis, President of Climate Crisis Solutions. “The president made a decision about the Keystone pipeline when he flew to Cushing, Oklahoma last spring to direct his administration to fast-track construction of Keystone XL’s southern leg.”
“And today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.”
- President Obama, speaking about the southern leg of Keystone XL in Cushing, OK (March 22, 2012)
Weis continued, “If the Obama administration was able to conjure up a way to fast-track construction of Keystone XL’s southern leg, it should be able to conjure up a way to stop it.”
Lester Brown, President of Earth Policy Institute, said, “At a time when the climate crisis demands an emergency response of 80% carbon cuts by 2020, our political leaders are instead embracing ever more extreme fossil fuels project like the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma. We need to be shooting for the moon with renewable energy, not drilling our way deeper into the climate hole.”
Renewing the call he originally made in 2010, when he pedaled 2,500 miles from Boulder, CO to Washington, DC in support of 100% renewable electricity for the U.S. by 2020, Weis concluded, “The urgency of our economic and planetary meltdown demands a modern-day green energy ‘moon shot’ for America. It’s time for our generation to stand up and do something great.”
Weis was in the first wave of 1,253 activists arrested outside the White House during a 2011 protest against Keystone XL, spending two nights in a DC cellblock with Bill McKibben and 63 others. The 2013 Ride for Renewables will conclude with an action outside the White House in early November, where climate leaders will peaceably assemble to demand that President Obama stop the tar sands pipeline in its entirety.
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“Red State” Landowners, Tribal Leaders & Allies Call on Obama & Romney to Defend America Against Keystone XL Economic, Public Health and National Security Threat
“Defend America, Stop Keystone Tour” Being Launched in Presidential Battleground State of Colorado
September 27, 2012 (Boulder, CO) – Today, Tom Weis and allies released an “Open Letter” calling on President Obama and Governor Romney to withdraw their support for Keystone XL on economic, public health and national security grounds. In addition to affected ranchers, farmers and indigenous leaders, signatories include Lester Brown, Daryl Hannah, James Hansen, Mariel Hemingway, Bill McKibben, Bonnie Raitt, Ed Begley, Jr. and race car driver Leilani Münter.
Tomorrow, Weis begins a 4-week “rocket trike” tour of the eastern plains and Front Range of Colorado, where he will hand-deliver copies of the letter to Romney and Obama campaign offices.
“The southern and northern webs of the Keystone XL pipeline represent the extraction and trafficking of dirty, toxic, carbon-intense synthetic crude oil that from cradle-to-grave is a weapon of mass destruction against Mother Earth,” said Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network. “President Obama and Governor Romney have an opportunity to show they are men of conscience by withdrawing their support for this project.”
“Political leaders are pretending they do not understand the implication of science that has become crystal clear: burning unconventional fossil fuels such as tar sands will hand a climate system to our children that is out of their control,” said Dr. James Hansen, one of the world’s top climate scientists.
“Keystone XL is the exact wrong direction for our country,” said Lester Brown, President, Earth Policy Institute. “America’s economic path to prosperity lies in a wartime-like mobilization to ramp up our abundant domestic wind, solar and geothermal resources, not in facilitating dangerous tar sands exploitation.” He noted that Colorado is ranked 5th in the nation for solar resources and 12th for wind.
“As a race car driver, my career is currently based around an internal combustion engine, and yet even I can see the importance of moving towards the use of clean, renewable energy from the sun, the wind, and the ocean,” said Leilani Münter. “Keystone XL is the wrong choice for America, instead let’s be leaders and put our country to work building a new green energy economy.”
Citing public health threats posed by Keystone XL, lifelong conservationist Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of celebrated author Ernest Hemingway, called on both candidates to withdraw their support for the tar sands pipeline, saying, “Foreign corporate interests must not be permitted to violate our basic rights to clean air, food and water.”
Pointing out the threats to America’s heartland, where agriculture and tourism are major employers, actress/activist Daryl Hannah said, “It is time for all Americans to demand that our political leaders be brave, and be leaders, and do what is right for the people and the earth. Defending America against Keystone XL is not a Democratic or a Republican issue. It’s about doing what is right.”
“Fairness is a bedrock American value,” said Tom Weis, President, Climate Crisis Solutions. “I believe when the American people hear how our fellow Americans are being abused in Texas, they will demand an end to this madness. We need Keystone stopped, not Keystone Cops.”
Last fall, Weis pedaled the 1,700-mile proposed pipeline route from Canada to Texas, meeting many of the landowners currently resisting TransCanada. The 2012 tour will begin at NCAR in Boulder and end at NREL in Golden. The “Open Letter” is available for anyone to sign.
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2,150-Miles Later, Keystone XL “Tour of Resistance” Ends With Demand for President Obama to Reject Keystone XL Without Delay
Opponents of TransCanada Pipeline Call for Americans to Challenge Obama on Campaign Trail Until He Denies Tar Sands Pipeline Permit
December 21, 2011 (Port Arthur, TX) – Renewable energy advocate Tom Weis ended his 2,150-mile Keystone XL “Tour of Resistance” at the fence line community of West Port Arthur in the shadow of giant oil refineries spewing toxic air emissions. Weis launched the tour 10 weeks ago at the U.S./Canada border and has pedaled the entire U.S. length of the proposed tar sands pipeline in his “rocket trike” in support of landowners and communities in six states fighting Keystone XL. Pipeline opponents joined him in demanding that President Obama reject TransCanada’s presidential permit without delay.
Ride endorser Paul Hawken, author of The Ecology of Commerce and Blessed Unrest, joined Weis in characterizing President Obama’s November announcement to delay a decision on Keystone XL until after the 2012 election as “dangerous.” Hawken joined the call for Obama to immediately reject TransCanada’s permit, or be challenged on the campaign trail until he does. “If America does not draw the carbon line in the Athabasca tar sands, then the question is: who are we, and why are we here? Of all the environmental follies that have occurred in time, surely this is the greatest.”
“President Obama has shown zero leadership on Keystone XL,” stated Tom Weis, President of Climate Crisis Solutions. Calling for Americans to relentlessly challenge the president on the campaign trail until he rejects TransCanada’s presidential permit, Weis said, “Keystone XL is not only un-American, it is a direct threat to our nation. Every day the president fails to deny this pipeline permit, he is failing to protect America and her people. He must be called out on this.”
Texas landowner and founder of Stop Tarsands Oil Pipelines, David Daniel, who has been fighting TransCanada for more than three years, called the pipeline project “illegal, unregulated, untested, and a gross human rights violation with no public use justification.” Daniel said, “My message to every politician, from President Obama on down, is if you plan to put my family’s life and water at risk by supporting this pipeline, you need to be the first one to step foot on my property to try to take it.”
Nebraska fourth generation rancher, Teri Taylor, who met with Weis during the ride to share how the fight against TransCanada has totally consumed their lives, said, “Keystone XL is not right for America. It puts America in danger.” She appealed to President Obama as a mother and a grandmother: “Deny this permit for your daughters and my grandchildren.”
Port Arthur resident Hilton Kelley, who received the 2011 Goldman Prize for fighting to protect his fence line community from the dangers of surrounding oil refineries, said, “The people of West Port Arthur have suffered enough. We cannot tolerate the additional toxic emissions Keystone XL would rain down on our community. Poor people also have a right to clean air and water.” The U.S. EPA has openly criticized the U.S. State Department for not fully assessing the potential impacts of increased refinery emissions on the community of Port Arthur and its air and groundwater. TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline could transport up to 830,000 barrels a day of toxic tar sands slurry to be processed in Gulf Coast oil refineries.
“President Obama faces a truly historical moment,” said Oglala Lakota matriarch and 2011 Indigenous Woman of the Year award winner Debra White Plume. “The world will soon see if he caves in to the tyranny of big oil, or if he is a sensible human being with a heart on fire for life, for the future generations. I hope he denies the permit right away, as game over for big oil, and the first stroke of painting a beautiful path for our generations to walk on.”
Endorsers of the “Ride for Renewables: No Tar Soil On American Soil!” include Daryl Hannah, Lester Brown, Ed Begley, Jr., Paul Hawken, Patagonia and others. For more info: rideforrenewables.com.
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Protests continue after Keystone XL delay (Lincoln Star Journal)
CITIZENS RALLY AT STATE CAPITOL TO DEMAND STATE LEGISLATURE PASS BILL REGULATING PIPELINE ROUTES
LEADERS CALL ON PRESIDENT OBAMA TO REJECT TRANSCANADA’S PERMIT BEFORE ELECTION & DEVELOP GREEN ENERGY PLAN FOR AMERICA
November 12, 2011 (Lincoln, NE) – Today, the Keystone XL “Tour of Resistance” landed at Nebraska’s capital. A diverse coalition of farmers, ranchers, indigenous leaders, environmental leaders, Occupy Lincoln activists and others biked and marched to the Capitol dome to demand state and federal action to oppose TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. They formed a human wall on the Capitol steps as a symbolic “line in the sand” against Keystone XL.
The Lincoln march and rally come less than a week after 12,000 people surrounded the White House in opposition to Keystone XL, and just days after the Obama administration announced delaying a decision on the pipeline until after the 2012 election. The organizers are calling on the State Legislature to pass a bill regulating pipeline routes, and for President Obama to reject Keystone XL without delay.
Describing Keystone XL as a “dagger into the heartland,” Tom Weis, President of Climate Crisis Solutions, said, “We don’t need more studies to know Keystone XL threatens America. Obama’s announcement to put off a decision on the pipeline until after next November is a deeply cynical political ploy. The President needs to make a decision before the election and develop a green energy plan for our nation that puts unemployed Americans back to work.”
Cindy Myers, a lifetime resident of the Sand Hills, questioned the new environmental review being called for by President Obama saying people living on the land understand their water resources better than anyone. “There’s been so much corruption at the local, state and federal level around Keystone XL, I don’t trust our government to do these studies right,” she said. “It’s like our government has been taken over by Big Oil.” Citing concern about the State Department’s delay announcement, Myers said, “It is of the utmost importance to Nebraska that we get this pipeline routing legislation in place now.”
Robert Bernt, an organic dairy farmer from Wheeler County, criticized TransCanada for their lies and manipulation of the facts. “They’re ruthless, they’re careless, they have no concern for their fellow man or the land,” he said. “They buy their way, force their way, and threaten eminent domain.” Referencing threats to the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies drinking water to nearly two million Americans and one-third of America’s farmland irrigation water, he said, “The American people need to step up and protect one of our nation’s most precious natural resources, the Ogallala Aquifer.”
Lynda Buoy, farmer, rancher and President of the Nebraska Farmers Union, Sand Hills Region, called on President Obama to intervene. “I think it’s a disgrace that this could happen in the United States: a foreign company coming into this country and badgering people to the point that they sign easements because they’re afraid not to do it.”
“If Keystone XL goes through, we’re going to erect a monument with a big brass plaque on top of it so people in the future will know who contaminated our water,” said Todd Cone, Nebraska rancher and licensed pump installation contractor. “It will have people in the Obama administration on it and all the Nebraska State Senators and how they voted.”
As reported by CNNMoney on November 10, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer, Russ Girling, said, “We remain confident Keystone XL will ultimately be approved.” According to CNNMoney, the company confirmed it has already bought $1.7 billion worth of steel pipe.
Weis is leading a “rocket trike” tour along the 1,700-mile proposed pipeline route to focus the nation on threats posed to America’s breadbasket by Keystone XL. He has pedaled over 1,000 miles since leaving the U.S./Canada border a month ago. Weis was one of 1,253 people arrested in front of the White House earlier this summer protesting the tar sands pipeline, spending two nights in DC’s Central Cell Block.
One man bikes proposed pipeline path, plans stop in Lincoln Saturday (Daily Nebraskan)
CROSS-COUNTRY BIKER PROTESTS PROPOSED PIPELINE (CBS News KRTV)
Man rides ‘Rocket Trike’ to oppose XL Pipeline (Black Hills FOX News)
Pipeline Protest (Rapid City Journal)
NO! to Tar Sands: Lakotas welcome Tom Weis and Daryl Hannah (the narcosphere)
Coloradan cycles to Houston from Canada by way of Rapid City (Rapid City Journal)
DARYL HANNAH, TRIBAL LEADERS SADDLE UP TO BLOCK KEYSTONE XL
OGLALA LAKOTA NATION & SICANGU LAKOTA NATION JOIN “TOUR OF RESISTANCE” AGAINST TRANSCANADA’S TAR SANDS PIPELINE
October 27, 2011 (Pine Ridge, SD) – Today, actress/activist Daryl Hannah and members of the Oglala Lakota Nation and Sicangu Lakota Nation mounted their horses in a symbolic stand against TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline proposal. Dozens of horse riders and bicyclists joined the Keystone XL “Tour of Resistance” as it rolled through Pine Ridge towards Rosebud.
The proposed pipeline route crosses the Oglala Sioux Rural Water Supply System, directly threatening the water supply of both tribal communities. The pipeline also threatens to contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer, the source of drinking water for nearly two million Americans and one-third of the America’s farmland irrigation water.
TransCanada has been bullying U.S. citizens who don’t cooperate with threats of eminent domain, prompting Oglala Lakota Nation member Alex White Plume to state, “Great Plains cowboys along the proposed pipeline route are the new Indians. As happened to us many years ago, they are now having their land stolen from them by a foreign intruder. Now cowboys and Indians are united in our fight against TransCanada’s tar sands oil pipeline.”
The solidarity ride across the Great Plains of South Dakota is a line in the sand for Americans demanding that President Obama reject TransCanada’s presidential permit. “If President Obama chooses Big Oil over our children, we will resist,” Weis said. “The American people are not going to stand for this. Keystone XL is not getting built.”
Today’s solidarity ride is part of the “Tour of Resistance” being led by renewable energy advocate Tom Weis, who is traversing the 1,700-mile proposed pipeline route in his “rocket trike” to highlight threats posed to the nation’s breadbasket. Ms. Hannah and Mr. Weis were among 1,253 people arrested earlier this summer in front of the White House protesting Keystone XL.
DARYL HANNAH, COWBOYS & INDIANS RIDE FOR RENEWABLES, AGAINST KEYSTONE XL TAR SANDS PIPELINE
October 27, 2011 (Pine Ridge, SD) – Today, actress/activist Daryl Hannah joined a unique alliance of cowboys and Indians fighting TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline proposal. More than a dozen horse riders and tribal elders joined the Keystone XL “Tour of Resistance” as it rolled through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Sicangu Lakota Hereditary Chief John Spotted Tail, who participated in the ride, said, “The non-Indian, they took the Indian land and left us on reservations. And now the non-Indian is having it done to him. And now you see the Indian and the non-Indian standing shoulder-to-shoulder fighting this pipeline. It’s pretty amazing to see this happen.”
Daryl Hannah said, “The Alberta tar sands are incredibly dangerous to our food security and water security.” She later added, “We really need President Obama to fulfill his promise to get us off what he called the ‘tyranny of oil.”
Paul Siemens, a rancher from Draper, South Dakota who also joined the ride, said, “The fact that a foreign corporation has the power of eminent domain is what got me into this whole thing… They threaten pretty much everyone with eminent domain.”
Oglala Lakota grandmother and activist Debra White Plume, who also joined the ride, said, “TransCanada’s pipeline would cross hundreds of waters and the Ogallala Aquifer, which is the direct lifeblood for 2 million people in this country. All that destruction so a foreign corporation can make a profit?”
“The Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868 is an active agreement with the U.S. government and we intend to enforce this supreme law to keep TransCanada’s destructive pipeline off our land,” explained Floyd Hand, Oglala Lakota Buffalo Chief and Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council Delegate.
Today’s solidarity ride is part of the “Tour of Resistance” being led by renewable energy advocate Tom Weis, who is traversing the 1,700-mile proposed pipeline route in his “rocket trike” to highlight threats to the Great Plains and the Ogallala Aquifer. Daryl Hannah, Debra White Plume and Tom Weis were among 1,253 people arrested earlier this summer in front of the White House protesting Keystone XL.
“Nothing about Keystone XL is in America’s national interest,” Weis concluded. “It’s time for President Obama to stand up and fight for America by rejecting TransCanada’s permit.”
Celebrity activist protests pipeline at Pine Ridge (Rapid City Journal)
Cowboys And Indians Unite (KOTA Radio 1380)
Protesters ride in SD against proposed pipeline (Associated Press)
Actress Daryl Hannah opposes Keystone XL Pipeline (Black Hills FOX News)
SIX-STATE TOUR LAUNCHED TO BUILD RESISTANCE TO KEYSTONE XL TAR SANDS PIPELINE
“ROCKET TRIKE” RIDER PEDALING 1,700-MILE PIPELINE ROUTE TO REINFORCE FRONT LINES OF IMPENDING CONFRONTATION
October 13, 2011 (Phillips County, Montana) – Today, renewable energy advocate Tom Weis kicked off a six-state tour of resistance against TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline proposal by literally drawing a line in the sand at the US/Canada border. Over the next 10 weeks, Weis will pedal the 1,700-mile proposed pipeline route to amplify the voices of Middle Americans fighting this foreign pipeline invasion.
Keystone XL threatens to contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer – the fresh drinking water supply of nearly two million people and source of one-third of America’s farmland irrigation water – by pumping up to 830,000 barrels a day of tar sands sludge from Alberta to oil refineries in Texas. Despite a corrupt environmental review process, the Obama White House is “inclined” to approve TransCanada’s presidential permit on national interest grounds, with a decision expected before the end of the year.
Weis was one of 1,253 people arrested outside the White House this summer for protesting against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. He is now headed to the front lines of this impending confrontation in support of the farmers, ranchers and tribal communities in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas who are defying TransCanada.
A recent study by Cornell University concluded that Keystone XL may destroy more jobs than it creates. TransCanada’s pipeline is also projected to raise gasoline and diesel fuel prices in the Midwest by 10 to 20 cents per gallon.
“Letting a foreign corporation use eminent domain to ram a toxic tar sands pipeline through America’s breadbasket is not in our national interest,” Weis said. Likening the protests against Keystone XL to the growing Wall Street protests, he said, “We’re seeing the American people rise up against corporate interests that are running our democracy into the ground.”
Earth Policy Institute President Lester Brown stated, “One of the gravest climate threats to a world already on the edge is the exploitation of Alberta’s tar sands. One of the bravest responses is Tom Weis’ six-state heartland ride to block Keystone XL.”
“President Obama is either with the American people on this or he’s with the oil lobby,” Weis concluded. “It’s choice time.”
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