Thursday, November 10, 2011

I love being wrong!

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A few month ago I opined that President Obama couldn't be moved by environmental activists to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Sure, he needed to shore up his base for the 2012 election. But I thought he'd treat people who cared about climate and pollution as in the bag, so frightened by any Republican that he could ignore them.

Evidently not so. Perhaps he got tired of having his campaign fundraising events dogged by protesters. Maybe he found it sleazy that the "environmental assessment" of the project was contracted out to a company with big contracts with the pipeline builder.

But for whatever reason, the administration has delayed a decision for more review. Bill McKibben, who has been leading the opposition via 350.org, believes we should take this as a victory.

The President deserves thanks for making this call -- it’s not easy in the face of the fossil fuel industry and its endless reserves of cash. The deepest thanks, however, go to you: to indigenous peoples who began the fight, to the folks in Nebraska who rallied so fiercely, to the scientists who explained the stakes, to the environmental groups who joined with passionate common purpose, to the campuses that lit up with activity, to the faith leaders that raised a moral cry, to the labor leaders who recognized where our economic future lies, to the Occupy movement that helped galvanize revulsion at insider dealing, and most of all to the people in every state and province who built the movement that made this decision inevitable.

Our fight, of course, is barely begun. Some in our movement will say that this decision is just politics as usual: that the President wants us off the streets -- and off his front lawn -- until after the election, at which point the administration can approve the pipeline, alienating its supporters without electoral consequence. The president should know that if this pipeline proposal somehow reemerges from the review process we will use every tool at our disposal to keep it from ever being built; if there’s a lesson of the last few months, both in our work and in the Occupy encampments around the world, it’s that sometimes we have to put our bodies on the line.

McKibben isn't joking about that. People aren't about to let this abomination be built.

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