Jan 19 Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan 19, 2009
Pipeline Protesters Ready to Go Back on the Offensive, Beginning Tuesday at the Capitol
500 Referees “Blow the Whistle” on Big Oil’s Corruption of Congress at 12:00 PM, Jan 24
WASHINGTON -- After yesterday's announcement that President Obama will deny the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, Bill McKibben and the organization he founded, 350.org, are using the environmental movement’s new momentum to go back on the offensive against the fossil fuel industry and their political supporters.
While certain members of Congress plan to use Keystone XL to wrongly attack the President on jobs, 350.org will try and make the pipeline a symbol of the ways in which Big Oil money corrupts the political process and holds back progress on clean energy jobs and climate change.
In 2012, 350.org, which helped lead the sit-ins and protests that forced Keystone XL into the national spotlight, will be:
- Mobilizing youth and climate voters in key swing states: With staff and tens of thousands of grassroots volunteers, 350.org will work with celebrities, youth activists, and other movement leaders to build an army so strong that it will not allow a national politician to set foot in a swing state without being met by hundreds of climate activists demanding that politicians “Make Polluters Pay” and end taxpayer subsidies to fossil fuel companies.
- Organizing mass protests against extreme energy projects: Mass action and civil disobedience stopped Keystone XL and 350.org will work with allies to use these tactics to take on other extreme energy projects, including the Enbridge Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline in Canada.
- Challenging the media to question candidates about the climate crisis: Coverage of the climate crisis had dropped over the past year and the current crop of Republican presidential candidates have rarely been held to account for their anti-science views. 350.org will challenge debate monitors and Sunday talk show hosts to ask the candidates direct questions about their specific plans to transition the nation off of fossil fuels.
"Keystone was a defensive battle against a dangerous pipeline," said Bill McKibben, "But to really fight global warming we need to go on the offense against the power of the fossil fuel lobby. And that begins by telling the obvious truth--these guys are perverting the political process by paying huge sums of money to Congressmen and Senators. We wouldn't tolerate that kind of conflict if it was the Super Bowl at stake, or even your daughter's middle school gymnastics meet. That's why there will be 500 or more 'referees' on Capitol Hill Tuesday at noon to 'blow a whistle' on this kind of endemic influence-buying."
The action will take place at noon Tuesday on the West Lawn of the Capitol and will feature a marching band, the executive directors of a number of environmental groups, and, yes, over 500 people dressed in full referee outfits, complete with whistles and penalty flags.
McKibben hopes that the protest and upcoming campaigns will open up a new front in environmentalists’ fight with fossil fuel companies.
"Keystone is small potatoes compared to the really big favors that big oil's fleet of Congressmen provide it each year: billions of dollars in subsidies to the most profitable industry on earth," said McKibben. "Can we really not think of a better use for taxpayer's money than sending gifts to Exxon and BP? And of course the biggest gift of all is that, along with other industries, they get to dump their waste into the atmosphere for free. It's all outrageous, but we're so used to this kind of business as usual that our outrage has turned to cynicism. We're determined to be aggressively naive--to ask if we really have to keep turning over our democracy to the biggest polluters on earth."