For Immediate Release
The Week in Keystone XL: Cowboy and Indian Alliance Calls on Obama to Reject Keystone, Protect Their Land and Water
WASHINGTON - Below is a recap of this week’s news related to the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. This week, ranchers, farmers, and tribal leaders took part in a five-day ‘Reject and Protect’ encampment on the National Mall to call on President Obama to reject the Keystone pipeline. See below for more:
News & Developments:
This week, the Cowboy and Indian Alliance, a group of ranchers, farmers and indigenous leaders, launched a five-day “Reject and Protect” encampment on National Mall to urge President Obama to “reject” the Keystone XL pipeline and “protect” their land, water, climate, and tribal rights.
The encampment began Tuesday morning with a traditional tribal ceremony in front of the Capitol reflecting pool. The alliance poured a bucket of water from family wells along the pipeline route into the pool to highlight the need to protect this sacred resource. Twenty tribal leaders and ranchers and farmers from Nebraska then led a procession on horseback from the Capitol to a group of nine tipis on the National Mall near the Natural History Museum.
The Reject and Protect camp is the center of five-days of activities and demonstrations to protest Keystone XL and tar sands development, including a symbolic act of civil disobedience during which activists brought a giant mock pipeline to the reflecting pool to represent the threat Keystone poses to their water, as well as a rally outside Secretary Kerry’s home calling on him to come visit the encampment and reject the pipeline. Tomorrow, over 5,000 people are expected to join the Cowboy and Indian Alliance for a procession by the Capitol.
The actions are particularly timely this week, as the State Department announced late last week that it would delay a final decision on Keystone XL because of the lack of an approved route for the pipeline through Nebraska. The Obama Administration is now unlikely to make a final decision on the pipeline until after the mid-term elections in November.
The delay was a clear victory for pipeline opponents, who have pressured the State Department to take more seriously the concerns of landowners, tribes, and scientists, who have repeatedly warned that Keystone XL is a climate disaster. With the State Department’s focus now turning back to Nebraska, the impact the pipeline would have on farms, ranches, and critical freshwater sources in America’s heartland is more relevant than ever.
Quotes of the Week:
"What can come about when you bring cowboys and Indians together for a common cause is a prayer. This prayer for protection of the resources of our children’s children can come from many hearts and minds, but when we come together, we make one prayer. We make one heart. We make one mind. We want President Obama and the rest of the world to know that we are praying with one heart and one mind for the seven generations to come behind us. We can now show that we are standing the line together in prayer and in deed against a common threat to our children’s future.” – Gary Dorr, a Army veteran who now helps lead “Oyate Wahacanka Woecun,” the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s “Shield the People” project, an effort to defend against the Keystone XL pipeline, on this week’s “Reject and Protect” actions
“We believe that protecting the living soil and uncontaminated water in which we can grow food, safe from oil spills and other pollution, is our sacred duty. And we are united, and we are not alone, in our unrelenting opposition to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.” – Actress Daryl Hannah and Oglala Sioux community leader Debra White Plume, in a joint op-ed calling for the rejection of Keystone XL
In Case You Missed It:
Obama's Last Shot – Rolling Stone reports that high level sources in the White House have said that President Obama has “all but decided” to reject Keystone XL
Oil industry cartoon targets anti-Keystone cowboys – API released an offensive ad this week mocking the ranchers, farmers, and tribal leaders who came to Washington to ask the President to protect the land and water their depend on for their health and livelihoods
At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.