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If KXL Opponents 'Draw The Line,' Will Obama Dare to Cross?

National day of action against tar sands pipeline planned for Saturday

- Jon Queally, staff writer

In a coordinated day of action this Saturday, people in the U.S. will gather in their own communities nationwide to deliver what they hope will be a dramatic final public salvo in their multi-year campaign aimed at forcing President Obama to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

The fight against the project remains the main focus of the climate advocacy group 350.org—which is spearheading the "Draw The Line" protests—and thousands of their supporters have signed up to "protect their communities from climate change and show President Obama that there is no turning back—to keep his climate promises" by rejecting the pipeline that would transport the world's "dirtiest fuel" from Alberta, Canada to the U.S. Gulf coast.

Though it remains uncertain when Obama might make a final decision, according to 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, the president's recent rhetoric on climate change indicates that he will not approve the project.

“The president said this summer that if Keystone would significantly increase carbon emissions then he would block it,” said McKibben in an interview with Politico published on Tuesday. “If he follows that standard in good faith, he can’t support the pipeline. The science and economics of it are completely clear. If he does what he says he’ll do, he won’t approve it. And if he doesn’t approve it, it’ll be a good deal. It’ll be the first time a world leader said a major project would not happen because of climate change. … If he does approve it, then I’m afraid, on this issue, it’ll be clear he talks small action.”

Despite welcoming Obama's recent rhetoric, however, climate activists are not yet prepared to declare victory over the pipeline fight. As McKibben signaled in a recent email to supporters, even if "the endgame on KeystoneXL" might be fast approaching, opponents will have their "fingers crossed" and "fists clenched" during the final weeks or months before an official announcement by the White House.

In preparation for Saturday, 350.org has been promoting this single Facebook event page to which more than 40,000 people have already RSVP'd.

"The idea is simple," said Duncan Meisel, an online organizer for 350.org, explaining the social media approach. "We'll use our collective reach as a network to invite as many of our friends to one Facebook Event with information about the day of action, and in the process reach tens of thousands of our friends as we prepare to take to the streets to stop Keystone XL and the tar sands."

The group also created this online organizers guide to help local groups plan and execute events and released this video to engage and energize potential participants:

Not organized in isolation, however, the day is being co-sponsored by a bounty of other environmental and social justice organizations, including Friends of the Earth, Bold Nebraska, Sierra Club, Better Futures Project, Credo Action, the Energy Action Coalition, Oil Change International, Rainforest Action Network. the Tar Sands Blockade, and others.

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