Newsflash:
Issues ERA 3 State Strategy Stop Global Warming Thousands Rally Against Keystone XL as Obama Faces Decision
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 02:13

Thousands Rally Against Keystone XL as Obama Faces Decision

Written by  Cole Stangler | In These Times
Protesters hold an anti-Keystone vigil in Vermillion, S.D. as part of nationwide rallies on Monday, February 3. Protesters hold an anti-Keystone vigil in Vermillion, S.D. as part of nationwide rallies on Monday, February 3. (Alice Alexandrescu / Flickr / Creative Commons)

The two-year-plus political drama is nearing its climax.

On Monday night, thousands rallied across the country against construction of the Keystone XL pipeline—the latest show of strength for an environmental movement that’s reaching the home stretch after more than two years of successfully delaying the project. The next three months will determine whether the Keystone project is greenlit or killed.

  Since TransCanada’s proposed pipeline crosses the U.S.-Canada border, it requires a presidential permit. And with the release of the State Department’s final environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL on Friday, President Obama will soon, at long last, be forced to make a decision about a pipeline that he pledged to approve “only if it does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”

The impact statement offers frustratingly few clues into the potential fate of the Keystone XL. On the one hand, the State Department all but acknowledged that the daily transport of more than 800,000 barrels of mostly heavy crude oil would result in new carbon emissions and accelerate climate change—a point the anti-KXL camp finds dazzlingly obvious. On the other hand, the impact statement suggested that Alberta’s oil sands will be extracted and shipped to export markets with or without Keystone XL—in all likelihood, via a combination of rail and other pipelines like Enbridge’s Alberta Clipper, which stretches from southeastern Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin. (The Obama administration quietly issued a permit for that project in August 2009.)

Eight federal agencies have just under 90 days to comment on whether or not construction is in the “national interest” before Secretary of State John Kerry announces the administration’s final judgment.

As Washington deliberates, green groups are sending a message from the streets. Hundreds of people gathered in New York’s Union Square yesterday for a rally where 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben and Clayton Thomas-Muller of Idle No More, an indigenous-led environmental justice movement in Canada, called on President Obama to reject the pipeline. Crowds held similar protest vigils in Chicago, Los Angeles, Lincoln, Nebraska—located only about fifty miles away from the proposed pipeline route—and other cities. Meanwhile, in President Obama’s backyard, more than two hundred protesters braved the frigid weather to rally in front of a brightly lit White House and a massive inflatable KXL replica reading, “Pipeline President or Climate Champion?”  

“Our generation must fight for our planet,” Rev. Lennox Yearwood, president of the Hip Hop Caucus, told the boisterous crowd. “This is our lunch-counter moment.”

Like many others in attendance, Susan Stillman, 60, came out to the White House because she worries that KXL will spur more development of the oil-rich tar sands in Alberta.

“I really don’t want to see the infrastructure built out to move this really nasty, carbon-intensive product from Canada,” Stillman says. “Once you build the infrastructure, the compulsion is to use it.”

The broad coalition that helped organize Monday’s protests in 48 states—the Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club, Credo Action, 350.org and the Natural Resources Defense Council, among many others—is further proof of how strongly the Keystone XL battle has served to unify what’s often been a fragmented environmental movement.

“Sometimes movements operate in silos,” Reverend Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus tells In These Times. “You have fracking here, you have mountaintop removal over here, environmental justice here, the Lakota [opposing the pipeline] in Pine Ridge [South Dakota] over here. This is an issue where we have come together and it has broke down some of those silos, even within in our own movement.”

“Clearly, it’s not just about this one pipeline,” Yearwood continues. “It really is about: Are we going to be moving for cleaner energy, or do we continue to extract fossil fuels, which we know creates global warming and climate change?”

Monday’s crowds were also a preview of the greater numbers that have pledged to turn out if Secretary Kerry concludes that the pipeline would, in fact, contribute to the “national interest.” More than 77,000 people have committed to take part in non-violent civil disobedience if the KXL is approved. The green groups have already selected several protest sites across the nation: State Department and Environmental Protection Agency offices in Washington, the TransCanada headquarters in Houston, and various branches of TDBank, one of the Canadian energy firm’s largest shareholders.

“We think over the next 90 days, that [77,000] number is going to increase quite a bit,” says Elijah Zarlin, CREDO’s Senior Campaign Manager. “The message will be that it’s the last minute for President Obama to make good on his promise to fight climate change and make good on the test he set for Keystone XL.”

When it comes to the KXL, Obama has generally held his cards very close. In a speech last June at Georgetown University, he offered a now-famous criterion for approval: Does the pipeline “significantly exacerbate” greenhouse gas emissions? The State Department report offers an ambiguous answer to that question, shedding little light on the president’s likely decision. But in a Fox News interview that aired Monday night, the President offered a harsh rebuke of at least a portion of the environmental statement that may hint at where he’s leaning.

It’s not 42,000,” Obama told Bill O’Reilly, when the host cited State Department projections about how many jobs Keystone would create. “That’s not correct. It’s a couple thousand to build the pipeline.”

In a mid-term-election year, the president may choose to base at least part of his decision on public opinion. That provides even more impetus for activists to keep the pressure up, as polls strongly suggest the protest movement has helped shift public opinion against the pipeline. About 56 percent of Americans say they support Keystone XL, with 41 percent opposed, according to new poll conducted in a November-December 2013 for USA Today. That may not be the numbers the movement is aiming for, but it marks growing opposition since March 2013, when a Pew study found a 66-23 split.

Zarlin of CREDO Action acknowledges that “there’s been a lot of disappointment” when it comes to Obama’s energy and environmental policies. But he’s holding out hope that the president’s well-documented desire to craft a legacy on climate issues —along with the State Department’s focus on “national interest”—will eventually trump the administration’s reverence for Big Oil.

“When you’re talking about protecting the citizens of this country from climate change,” Zarlin says, “it’s quite a defeatist mindset to say, ‘Well, the stuff’s just going to get out of the ground anyway,’ and not say, ‘We’re going to do everything we can to not let our country be used by a foreign oil company to export oil to foreign markets.’ ” 


Cole Stangler is an In These Times staff writer based in northeast D.C., covering Congress, corruption and politics in Washington. His reporting has appeared in The Huffington Post and The American Prospect. He's also the keyboard player for Betsy & The Bicycles, proud to be a former In These Times intern and recovering from his senior history thesis. He can be reached at cole[at]inthesetimes.com. Follow him on Twitter @colestangler.   


Original article on In These Times

 

Read 2494 times Last modified on Saturday, 15 March 2014 15:44

ERA Articles

  • Congresswoman Speier: The Deadline for Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment Should be Removed
    Congresswoman Speier: The Deadline for Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment Should be Removed

    Congresswomen Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo/Redwood City) issued the following statement today after offering a joint resolution to remove the deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA was introduced into every Congress between 1923 and 1972, when it finally passed and was sent to the states for ratification upon three/fourths approval. Congresswoman Speier’s joint resolution has 109 original co-sponsors.

    Written on Friday, 28 March 2014 02:59 Read more...
  • Group wants ERA ratified
    Group wants ERA ratified

    State Sen. Nina Turner said Saturday that she supports efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment but noted that more work is ahead in reaching equality. The Cleveland-based Democrat was one of several political candidates in attendance during an event hosted by the Progressive Democrats of America at the Adena Mansion & Gardens Visitors Center, where Turner gave a fiery speech to a full crowd about the need to support such a change.

    Written on Monday, 24 March 2014 22:03 Read more...
  • Progressive Democrats to kick off ERA ratification push in Chillicothe
    Progressive Democrats to kick off ERA ratification push in Chillicothe

    A group of Progressive Democrats plans to push for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment with an event here later this month. State Sen. Nina Turner, D-Cleveland, will be the keynote speaker. Turner is the minority whip in the Ohio Senate.

    The group, which also is conducting the event to defend voter rights, also will honor a local woman with an award at the event.

    Written on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:35 Read more...
  • Lehigh Valley feminists waged campaign in schools, prison
    Lehigh Valley feminists waged campaign in schools, prison

    One of Mary Larkin's prized possessions is a beat-up, old, wooden cutting board in the shape of a mushroom, but you can't tell by looking at it that it is the product of a revolution.

    It was made by Larkin's daughter Debbie, who was one of the first girls to take shop in Parkland schools after the district relented in the mid-1970s to allow them to forgo home economics and do woodworking instead.

    Written on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 02:52 Read more...
  • Will Virginia be the First State to Ratify Equal Rights Amendment in the 21st Century?
    Will Virginia be the First State to Ratify Equal Rights Amendment in the 21st Century?

    Today SJ 78, a bill to ratify the stalled Equal Rights Amendment, was placed on the docket of the Elections subcommittee in the Virginia House. Could this signal GOP support for Constitutional pay equity? Even in the 21st century corporations continue to pay women less because they are women. Last week we learned that General Motors offered their first female CEO a salary 50% less than her male predecessors (the usual female pay discount is only 8%).

    Written on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 01:00 Read more...
  • Deadline Looms: ERA Ratification Assigned to Judiciary Committee in AZ Legislature
    Deadline Looms: ERA Ratification Assigned to Judiciary Committee in AZ Legislature

    Rep. Victoria Steele’s (D-9) bill to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (HCR2016) was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee late last week. (You’ll remember that mid-week, I reported it was languishing on the desk of House Speaker Andy Tobin.)

    Written on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 01:56 Read more...
  • Uphill Battle: Rep. Victoria Steele Introduces Bill to Extend ERA Ratification Deadline
    Uphill Battle: Rep. Victoria Steele Introduces Bill to Extend ERA Ratification Deadline

    There is an ideological perfect storm brewing in the Arizona Legislature. A memorandum supporting extension of the ratification deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has been assigned to a committee where five out of seven members have pledged to protect and fight for the rights of fetuses over the rights of women.

    Written on Thursday, 13 February 2014 14:37 Read more...
  • America the Beautiful is Not a Movie
    America the Beautiful is Not a Movie

    What I know about sports, I learned watching movies, but what I know about fair play and equality, I learned watching my parents.  Although movies Based on a true story, have evolved closer to reality since William Bendix played Babe Ruth, the brain damage of inequality requires more than A Hail Mary Pass at equal economic opportunity and Justice for All to tackle an Equal Rights Amendment fumbled by a deadline for ratification.

    Written on Monday, 10 February 2014 20:51 Read more...
  • Alice Paul: Honoring The Birthday Of An American Heroine
    Alice Paul: Honoring The Birthday Of An American Heroine

    In November 2014, Americans will be heading to the polls to vote in the midterm elections.

    Women will be voting.

    If Alice Paul had not been alive to fight for that right, women still might not have the opportunity to make their voices heard in the United States of America.

    January 11, 1885 was the day this great American woman was born and it is on this day that everyone should take a moment to recognize and celebrate her brave and progressive life.

    Written on Sunday, 12 January 2014 00:11 Read more...
  • Signature gathering drive underway for state equal-rights amendment
    Signature gathering drive underway for state equal-rights amendment

    People are out collecting signatures to get the Oregon’s Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) for women on the November 2014 ballot. This could mean a change to the state constitution to include language that specifically protects women.

    Oregon’s ERA for women has been out there several times before now, most recently before the legislative session in 2013, but it didn't pass.

    Written on Wednesday, 01 January 2014 22:30 Read more...
  • ERA December Update
    ERA December Update

    Congratulations Rhode Island!
    Rhode Island is the first state to have 100% of their Federal delegation supporting our legislation. A special thanks to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator Jack Reed, Rep. David Cicilline and Rep. James Langevin. We appreciate your support.

    Written on Thursday, 12 December 2013 01:19 Read more...
  • JFK'S Contribution to Women's Rights -- and What He Might Want Us to Do Next
    JFK'S Contribution to Women's Rights -- and What He Might Want Us to Do Next

    Just a few weeks before his death, on October 11, 1963, President Kennedy received the final report of the President's Commission on the Status of Women. A direct line runs between the work of this commission and the establishment of the National Organization for Women.

    Written on Saturday, 23 November 2013 21:02 Read more...
  • Debate over Equal Rights Amendment

    If an Equal Rights Amendment were to pass, women would have the written support of the Constitution. Instead of women having to prove that they were being discriminated against, violators of the amendment would face a harsher reality, having to prove their innocence.

    The benefits of ratifying the amendment are fairly simple. By passing the Equal Rights Amendment, the government would not only open doors of opportunity for women in the country, but also open them all around the world.

    Written on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 02:58 Read more...
  • Progressive Push - First Stop California
    Progressive Push - First Stop California

    UPDATE: Linda Sanchez and Louise Roybal-Allard are now cosponsors of HJ Res 43. As Progressives we should all be outraged that of the 15 members of the Progressive Caucus from California, there are 5 (3) who have not co-sponsored Representative Rob Andrews legislation, HJ Res 43, removing the deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Unacceptable. They are well aware of the legislation and we must alert them to this fact.

    Written on Thursday, 07 November 2013 00:00 Read more...
  • The ERA and the NCGA 2013
    The ERA and the NCGA 2013

    Targeting women’s right to vote may be the undoing of extreme governance and an opportunity to take care of constitutionally unfinished business for women – an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The newly declared war on the right of women in NC to vote looks to be the match to the fuse in the renewed push for passing an ERA.

    Written on Tuesday, 05 November 2013 00:00 Read more...
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren Signs On to SJ Res 15
    Senator Elizabeth Warren Signs On to SJ Res 15

    A Major Victory for ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) advocates happened today as Senator Elizabeth Warren becomes the 32nd co-sponsor on Senator Ben Cardin’s bi-partisan bill, SJRES15 to remove the deadline to ratify the ERA.

    Written on Thursday, 31 October 2013 16:47 Read more...
  • Monday Vintage Demonstrations on Equal Rights Amendment
    Monday Vintage Demonstrations on Equal Rights Amendment

    In the spirit of Moral Mondays the Onslow County Democratic Party announced that this Monday’s demonstration on  October 28th  will focus on pushing back against the wave of legislation negatively impacting  women’s rights to include the targeting of their voting rights. Demonstrators are civilly rallying from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm outside the Jacksonville City Hall at 815 New Bridge Street to support the passage of an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) checking state laws that are eroding women’s rights.

    Written on Thursday, 24 October 2013 17:46 Read more...
  • “Welcome to Ohio: Set Your Clocks Back 50 Years!”
    “Welcome to Ohio:  Set Your Clocks Back 50 Years!”

    “Seems like old times,” was former ODP chair, David Leland’s comment when we exchanged greetings at the Statehouse, October 2nd. Indeed it did. About 1000 enthusiastic women and men showed up for a rally entitled, “We Won’t Go Back: Stand Strong with Ohio’s Women!”

    Written on Thursday, 03 October 2013 13:49 Read more...
  • Poverty, Hunger, Inequality, Violence: American Women Are Being Screwed
    Poverty, Hunger, Inequality, Violence: American Women Are Being Screwed

    Women earn less than men. Compared to white men, Latinas earn 59 cents for every dollar earned by a white man, black women earn 68 cents on the dollar, white women earn 81 cents on the dollar, and Asian women earn 88 cents on the dollar

    Written on Thursday, 29 August 2013 00:43 Read more...
  • ERA 2013 Action Campaign Gains Momentum - White House Petition Passes 20,000 Signature Mark
    ERA 2013 Action Campaign Gains Momentum - White House Petition Passes 20,000 Signature Mark

    The new push to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) continues to grow as word spreads about the effort to get the Obama Administration to take a stand on the issue of equal rights for women. The ERA 2013 Action Campaign and its partner, ERA NOW, seek to gather 25,000 signatures on an official White House petition to trigger an official response from the Obama Administration, now needs only 4600 signatures by February 9th.

    Written on Tuesday, 05 February 2013 17:58 Read more...

ERA Legislation in your State

Unratified states Gold - Ratified States Purple

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

ERA - January 15th Round Table

Find Your Elected Officials

Enter your zip+4 and find your elected officials. This link provides name, address and phone number

ButtonFindElectedOfficials

Click on your state in the list to find out if your Senators and Representative are cosponsors of the Equal Rights Amendment. Then call and either Thank Them or ask them to support the legislation.

Sample scripts are below.

ERA Call Scripts

Thank You Script
I am a voter in your district and the Equal Rights Amendment is very important to me and all my friends. Thank you for supporting equal rights.

Request Support
I am a voter in your district and the Equal Rights Amendment is very important to me and all my friends. Equality is a human rights issue. The Equal Rights Amendment has been stalled and we believe removing the ratification deadline will most the process forward. Please cosponsor SJ Res 15 (for Senators) HJ Res 43 (for your Representative)

Writer a Letter to the Editor about the ERA

We need to add the Equal Rights Amendment to the National conversation. Use our tool to send a letter to the editor of your local paper.

  1. Enter your zip code to select a list of local papers
  2. Select the paper
  3. Use our talking points and/or write your own letter

button-LettertoEditor

Hand Deliver a Letter to your Senators or Representative

If your Senator(s) and/or Representative is not currently a supporter, they may not be aware that the legislation exists. Nothing sends a stronger message to a Congressional member than a personal visit to a district office by a voter with a written request for support. Phone calls and emails are incredibly important but nothing gets attention like a personal visit. Our Educate Congress page has information and a sample letter. Print the letter, sign it, deliver it.

Button-HandDeliver

Email Your Senators and Representatives

There is no faster way to send a message to your Congress members than using our Email Advocacy Tool.

  1. Enter your Zip +4
  2. Use our letter or feel free to edit and create your own

button-emailyourrep

Like ERA Action on Facebook!

ERA Videos

VA State Legislature

Marena Groll
Moral Monday - Fayetteville

January 15th Progressive Round Table

Tea with Friends of Alice - Chillicothe, Ohio

  • Sen. Nina Turner and Cathy White
    Sen. Nina Turner and Cathy White
  • Queen Nester and Sen. Nina Turner
    Queen Nester and Sen. Nina Turner
  • Awardees
    Dr. Jean Kerney, Senator Nina Turner and Portia A. Boulger Awardees
  • Sen. Nina Turner and Cathy White
  • Queen Nester and Sen. Nina Turner
  • Awardees