Yesterday, I wrote a post about the first XL pipeline protest in front of the White House. 70 protesters were arrested, including Jane Hamsher, Dan Choi and Bill McKibben. Dan, Bill and several others will be in jail until Monday. That’s not normal procedure. It’s an intimidation tactic by the Park Police. Won’t work. Day 2 saw another large group of anti-pipeline protesters. I went down to the White House to watch the events unfold.
I also talked to Jane Kleeb, a Nebraskan, who explained the reasons for the protest. Bottom line: The decision over whether to proceed with this environmental disaster rests solely with President Obama.
The Canadians are trying to bully us into accepting the pipeline across the United States. They need our harbors. We really don’t need their tar sands.
Jane mentioned the mess in Michigan. Read about it here:
It’s known as heavy crude oil, tar sands oil or diluted bitumen.
And some of the heavier parts of the oil are on the bottom of the Kalamazoo River.
This is the first time the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has had a diluted bitumen spill of this size, and responders are “writing the book” on how to respond, said Ralph Dollhopf, EPA incident commander for the spill.
“At minimum, we’re writing a chapter in the oil spill cleanup book on how to identify submerged oil,” Dollhopf said. “We’re writing chapters on how it behaves once it does spill (and) how to recover it.”
These protests will continue for the next two weeks. The Park Police really don’t want any civil disobedience next weekend during the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Actually, there’s probably no greater tribute to King than to participate in civil disobedience.
Hopefully, the President will get the message. This is all him. He decides. Big Oil, which pretty much owns DC, is applying a lot of pressure. But, Bill McKibben (who is in jail until tomorrow) explained in his Washington Post op-ed, this one is critical:
But those tar sands are also the second-largest pool of carbon in the atmosphere, behind only the oil fields of Saudi Arabia. If we tap into them in a big way, NASA climatologist James Hansen explained in a paper issued this summer, the emissions would mean it’s “essentially game over” for the climate.
So, Obama’s choice is Big Oil or “game over.” Should be a no-brainer. But, nothing ever is with this White House.