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Groups Galvanize Against US Senate with 24 Hour 'Signature Bomb'

Senators will not get a pass from anti-tar sands activists

- Common Dreams staff

Beginning at noon today, a coalition of over a dozen environmental groups, progressive organizations, and socially minded businesses -- including 350.org, NRDC, Sierra Club, MoveOn.org and companies like Patagonia and Northface -- are launching a 24 hour “signature bomb” with the goal of sending the Senate over 500,000 messages opposing Keystone XL and urging Senators to block any amendments that reverse the President's pipeline rejection.

UPDATE: (4:35 PM EST) According to reports: 

Senate Republicans officially filed an amendment Monday afternoon to the transportation bill that would authorize the Keystone XL pipeline. The amendment is sponsored by Sens. John Hoeven, Mitch McConnell, Richard Lugar, David Vitter, Mike Johanns and Orrin Hatch.

And 350.org reports:

Click here to add your name to our growing movement wide petition to stop Keystone XL -- there are over 300,000 signatures and counting: 350.org/kxl

Earlier:

The action has been planned to combat an expected amendment that could be added to the Senate transportation bill which will be under consideration over the next several days.  If successfully tacked onto the Senate bill, the provision would force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline even after President Obama rejected it last month.

Bill McKibben from 350.org, on a press call this morning, said members of the coalition cannot hope to compete with the oil industry when it comes to campaign contributions to Senators and don't have illusions about a level playing field when it comes to money. "What we do have is numbers," he said. "What we do have is people who feel passionate about this issue. And in this fight 'money power' may find itself coming out on the short end of the stick against 'people power.'"  Citing the political upheaval that has now been generated by the pipeline, McKibben credited the bold vision of activists, especially young people in his organization and others, in elevating the issue of global warming and climate change by challenging US energy policy.  "We have spent our bodies. We have spent out time and energy," he said referencing previous actions at the White House and in local districts. "Now [with this action] we are spending our pixels and our keystrokes to get this message out."

Twitter updates show that the numbers are growing rapidly:

Suzanne Goldenberg, at The Guardian, reports this morning:

Some inflated estimates have put the number of pipeline jobs as high as 50,000; an analysis by the State Department, which oversaw the project, put the number at 5,000.

Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are due on Monday to introduce a new measure that would force work to begin on the pipeline, essentially overturning the White House decision.

Republican Senators plan to file a measure on Monday that would link the pipeline project to a bill that would authorise more than $100bn in long-term transportation spending.

Michael Keischnick, from the CREDO Action network, described the battle of the Keystone XL pipeline as a very "clean line" for his members and that US Senators "would not get a bye" if they voted for an oil pipeline that would "despoil America in order to export dirty oil."  Full development of the pipeline, he added, would "offset all the other gains" made by any of Obama's other environmental policies.

And Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, International Program Director at NRDC, called the Senate action a "political gambit" and that forcing congressional approval of a pipeline that the US State Department has found "not in the national interest" would be a clear sign that the Republicans and some Democrats continue "to play politics with dirty energy policies."

Take action here.

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