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'Drawing the Line' On Keystone XL, Americans Take to the Streets

In national day of action across 50 states, advocates demand rejection of Keystone XL and dirty tar sands

- Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Madison, Wisconsin protesters get an early start to the national day of action (Photo: Twitter / OverpassLightBrigadeIn towns and cities across the U.S., demonstrators are 'drawing the line' Saturday demanding that President Obama protect people and the environment by rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline. Billed a national day of action, and spearheaded by the climate campaign 350.org, over 200 rallies will take place in all 50 states as communities say "no" to climate change and dirty tar sands oil extraction.

"We have people out across the country to draw attention to expanded tar sands production and send a message to the president to draw line on Keystone XL," Daniel Kessler of 350.org told Common Dreams.

In New York City, advocates will employ art and activism to create a human representation of a storm surge in Battery Park to illustrate the destructive rise in sea levels that will take place if climate change is not curtailed, 350.org organizers report.

In Detroit, protesters will rally at the tar sands refinery in their own city that is spewing pollution into their community.

In Nebraska, organizers have built a wind and solar-powered barn in the direct path of the Keystone XL pipleine. In their dedication ceremony today, they will demand the pipeline not be built, Kessler explained.

To follow the day's events as they unfold, see the following Twitter feed:

The mobilizations come as Obama weighs the future of the Keystone XL pipline, key measure for oil giants and the Canadian government to drastically accelerate tar sands oil extraction.

Obama declared in his June speech on climate change that he would only approve the Keystone XL pipeline if it "does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution."

Green groups are now demanding he stick to his word and call off the project, which they charge would devastate the environment and communities and deepen the crisis of global warming. “If he follows that standard in good faith, he can’t support the pipeline," said 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben. "The science and economics of it are completely clear."

"Of course the pipeline would increase emissions, because that's what an oil pipeline does by definition," Kessler told Common Dreams.

The national day of action comes as opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline mounts, with 40,000 people converging the Washington, DC in February to demand the president reject the pipeline. A host of 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, are backing Saturday's mobilizations.

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