fresh voices from the front lines of change







The State Department released an environmental impact report Friday saying, according to The Washington Post, “the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would be unlikely to alter global greenhouse gas emissions.”

The report triggered more than 275 protests in towns and cities across the United States Monday. While there are almost no major (corporate)-media news reports of the nationwide protests (so far), social media outlets carried reports and pictures. There were also local news reports of the protests from places like San Diego, Olympia, Ann Arbor, St. Augustine, Burlington, Rochester and others.


Here are a few randomly selected Twitter photos from D.C., Madison, Houston, Peoria, San Francisco, New York, San Diego, Amherst… There are pictures from Oakland here.

Click here to see dozens of Twitter pictures from the protests. Click here to see a collection of photos of the protests on Flikr.

This collection places photos on a map.

Click here for a map showing where the 275+ protests occurred.

Here is an RT News report with pictures, Some 300 rallies held in US after State Dept green lights Keystone XL.

U.S. Media Ignores, Conservative Media Covers

Ironically, while most U.S. media outlets ignoring the large number of protests, conservative outlets covered them, using the occasion to push the conservative narrative that the current cold weather proves there is no global warming because it contains the word “warming.” The Daily Caller headlined, Anti-Keystone XL pipeline protests across the U.S. met with cold weather, snow.

Environmental activists protesting the Keystone XL pipeline over its alleged global warming impacts may have been praying for some warming this week when they were hit with frigid weather and snowfall.

Activists across the country were forced to march through freezing weather on Monday. Environmental groups planned more than 200 protests in 44 states to protest the Keystone XL pipeline following the release of the State Department’s final review of the project last week.

The Report

The pipeline has become a symbol of the problem of climate change. There is enough carbon in the Canadian tar sands to push the planet well over the edge of irreversible climate change. The Keystone pipeline transports this oil across the country to a U.S. port, enabling it to be sold to China.

While the Canadian tar sands contains a huge amount of carbon, the report argues that the oil is going to be sold whether the pipeline is built or not. According to The Washington Post report, while “tapping the Canadian oil sands for the pipeline would produce more greenhouse gases, the assessment also said that blocking the project would not prevent development of those resources.”


Whether or not the Keystone pipeline will cause additional oil to be taken from the ground and burned, putting more carbon in the air, the pipeline has become a symbol. It is seen as one step in the fight to stop carbon pollution and the resulting climate change.

The Hill quotes Jamie Henn of the green group as saying the dispute over Keystone is “the most iconic fight of a generation.” He adds: “A Keystone XL approval will turn a lot of people off from the process, and they will get involved in action that could be disruptive.”

Pricing Irony

Whether the pipeline will cause more carbon to be put into the atmosphere or not, building the pipeline will have an effect on our economy. Currently the Canadian tar sands oil is transported to refineries in the United States. Because this oil can only be used within the United States, this is holding the price of oil down.  Canadian as well as U.S. oil companies want the pipeline extension to open the market for this oil to China, which will then raise overall oil prices in the U.S. and increasing the profit of these companies.

If the president approves extending the pipeline so it can take oil to a port for shipment to China, this would increase U.S. gasoline prices by “as much as 20 cents a gallon in the Midwest, Great Plains and Rocky Mountains,” according to Bloomberg News.

(Washington’s Blog, in Big Oil Is Gaming the System to Raise Domestic U.S. Prices, has a roundup of reports on this pricing game from Bloomberg, CNN and others.)

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