Thousands Gather for Nationwide Vigils Opposing Keystone XL
Thousands of citizen activists held 280 vigils in 49 states, Washington, D.C., and Montreal on February 3, urging President Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The vigils followed the release of the State Department's Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) on the pipeline, which backed away from State's previous claim that it would have no significant climate impact.
The Sierra Club, CREDO, Rainforest Action Network, and 350.org joined with dozens of other Forward on Climate allies to organize the vigils, which many are calling the largest activist action that any Obama administration announcement has generated to date.
"This amazing public reaction came together in less than 72 hours because Americans across the nation want the president to hear it again, loud and clear -- it's time to move forward on clean energy," said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. "The president must reject Keystone XL."
Concurrent with the vigils, the Sierra Club mobilized over 60,000 activists to send letters to President Obama and the State Department, stressing that rejecting Keystone XL is one of the most important decisions the president can make to protect future generations from devastating climate disruption.
"No environmental issue in decades has brought -- and continues to bring -- Americans into the streets in such large numbers," said 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben. "That's because scientists have long since concluded that the Keystone XL pipeline is disastrous policy, and because we continue to hope we can somehow persuade our oil-addled government of the same."
In his climate speech last June, President Obama vowed to reject the pipeline if it would "significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution." The State Department's new FSEIS acknowledged that KXL would produce carbon pollution equivalent to putting nearly 6 million new cars on the road.
"Activists across the country are reminding President Obama that the pipeline clearly fails the climate test he set," said Elijah Zarlin of CREDO. "People want to do everything they can to help the president make strides to fight climate change in his second term. What he can accomplish all comes down to his decision on Keystone XL."
View more photos of the vigils, read this recap, and write to President Obama, urging him to stay true to his word, base his decision on the facts, and reject the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all.