Targets: Jamie Henn, Strategy and Communications Director and Co-Founder with 350.org and Jane Kleeb, Executive Director of Bold Nebraska
Goal: Support Native Americans, ranchers, farmers and allies standing together to oppose a massive oil pipeline and the impact it would have on our climate
A coalition of ranchers, farmers, tribal communities and non-profit organizations–a self-described ‘Cowboy Indian Alliance’–is using direct action to urge the President not to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Keystone XL would extend existing pipelines transporting tar sands oil from Canada across the American Midwest to refineries on the Gulf Coast for overseas export. Tar sands oil production is especially high-polluting, bringing together communities all along the pipeline’s proposed route to protest its construction.
The alliance, also known as ‘Reject and Protect,’ has unified people concerned about pipeline leaks, the hazardous and often secret chemicals used in production, and the impact of fossil fuels on our climate. Tribal communities already affected by tar sands oil have witnessed increased instances of rare cancers, the destruction of ancient forests and the pollution of waterways.
Despite denials from the oil industry, protests have already cost them precious time and money and have helped keep the oil in the ground. The Cowboy Indian Alliance will hold five days of direct action in Washington DC to send their message to the President: reject the Keystone XL pipeline. Applaud their dedication to this crucial cause.
Dear Mr. Henn and Ms. Kleeb,
Learning about the Cowboy Indian Alliance to stop the Keystone XL pipeline gives me hope. I know that many communities along the proposed route are united in rejecting the pipeline, and that those already affected by Canada’s tar sands production bear witness to its toll on human health and the environment. The President has the authority to approve or deny construction, and actions like yours force him to confront the seriousness of this responsibility–not just for today, but for the generations to come.
The Cowboy Indian Alliance reminds us that people who may seem to have little in common are united in opposing Keystone XL. Big energy companies want people to think that tar sands extraction will move forward no matter what, and that direct action and protest can do nothing to stop it. But your actions are making a difference: raising awareness, delaying production and helping keep oil in the ground where it belongs.
President Obama should reject construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and I sincerely hope he does. He cannot claim to make the decision without understanding the consequences, in part because of your dedication. Thank you for inspiring diverse people across the continent to stand together to protect our planet.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Phil Plait via Flickr