Taking action while waiting for Keystone.

I hate waiting for news. And this morning, we were waiting on a doozy of an update: A few days after a massive oil spill on the keystone 1 pipeline, the the Nebraska Public Service Commissions (PSC) was to decide whether or not to approve the Keystone XL pipeline route. (See this post if you want to catch up on the spill.) They did, with a really important caveat. And now I’m thinking about what’s next.

But as fortune would have it, I wasn’t stuck home alone, worrying about the vote; Or out at work trying to stay busy while clicking the refresh button on my news feed every few minutes. I was in Pittsburgh at the People Vs Oil & Gas conference, surrounded by pipeline fighters from British Columbia, Canada, South Texas, New York, California and everywhere in between.

So when a couple friends from the local Rising Tide chapter asked me to pitch in (and do what 198 methods does — digital communications support for direct action campaigns), I said yes in a heartbeat; Even if it meant getting up really, really early this morning.

Which is how I ended up holding my cellphone with shivering hands to film, tweet and share a cold, late November morning from Southpointe, PA. I was there to support a brave group of 5 local activists, each of whom had been touched directly by the fracking, coal mining, and extraction industries that have run roughshod over the shale fields and coal fields of that part of western PA, West Virginia, and too many of our communities.

In freezing weather lit by headlamps and watery pre-dawn light they erected two twenty foot tall tripods, dangled themselves from the apex and locked their bodies to the base. All of it to block an entrance to a local office park that is home to some of the biggest, richest and most destructive fossil fuel extraction companies in America. Frackers, Pipeline builders, Injection well profiteers and petro export barons all rub elbows and share office space on the plush Southpointe campus. Heck, even Halliburton rents a suite there.

I think it was a really perfect Counter-pointe to the waiting. While the drillers, frackers and polluters showed up expecting “another day at the often” we did something beutifle, creative, and a little bit crazy to disrupt their morning commute and make it clear #WeWontStop. You can read all about it, and check out my epic, shaky-shivering, 3.5 hour live stream of the whole action, at the Rising tide Facebook page. You can also chip in a few dollars to support the legal defense fund of the two climbers who were arrested here.

And that’s how it needs to be with Keystone XL too. Today’s decision isn’t a defeat — for us or Transcanada, the pipeline builder either. It’s a sort of detente, a “game on” moment that we need to rise to with creativity, love and a powerful spirit of action. You don’t need a giant tripod or a beutifle banner, or even to run out in the street and stop traffic where you live (yet). But you DO need to be willing to speak up and take action when the moment is right. And that’s why we’re encouraging everyone to sign the “promise to protect” today.

Lead by Nebraska landowners and local tribal nations and indigenous leaders, the promise asks you to be ready, to get trained, make a plan, recruit some friends. And when the moment is ripe as a late-July ear of corn, to be ready to take action to protect our country, our communities, and our climate from the Keystone XL pipeline (or whatever else they think of). Will you sign on?

Let’s get to that decision, because it’s a little confusing but here’s the gist:

The Decision is BAD because it’s basically saying the Keystone Xl pipeline can get built, despite all the protests, problems, and last week’s massive oil spill. On the other hand it’s GOOD because the “alternate route” they approved is hundreds of miles longer and needs new and different land to be taken by eminent domain — none of which has been vetted by the EPA and other federal agencies before.That gives us an opportunity to sue, demand more information, and otherwise gum up the works until they do. Because of all that, and the fact that the price of oil has been crashing (undercut by the price of renewable energy, but mostly by cheap fracked gas), a lot of economists and investors think that KXL will simply never be built.

For now, the best thing to do to help is to dig in and get ready to fight this pipeline (and lots more like it) with everything you’ve got. And you can start with the Promise to Protect.

Together, we can stop all of the pipelines, export terminals, compressor stations and more. But only if we promise to take action.

Will you join us?

The Keystone spill and what comes after

By now, I expect you’ve heard about the massive oil spill in Keystone 1 – the older tar sands Pipeline that Keystone XL is meant to expand and replace.1 More than 200,000 gallons of oil are still on the ground just miles from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate reservation.2

This is all happening at a critical moment. On Monday, the Nebraska Public Service Commission will decide a crucial local permit for Keystone XL. A denial of that permit, or even a decision to permit it with significant restrictions or re-routing could make the Pipeline too expensive to build, or create years of additional delay we can exploit to protest, organize, and eventually stop this disastrous project.

I don’t know what will happen on Monday. But I’ve spent the whole weekend with an amazing coalition of frontline activists and pipeline fighters, fossil fuel export exterminators and other fabulous people at the #PeoplevsOilGas summit. It’s given me hope and made me believe that together we can stop these pipelines — all of them. From the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines (and others) in the East; to Keystone, Dakota Access, Line 3 and Rover pipelines (and others) in the midwest, to the Trans Mountain pipeline and Jordan Cove export terminal (and others) on the west coast. I encourage you to follow along on our Facebook page and on the hashtag #peoplevsOilGas on twitter where we’re posting tons of updates from panels and conversations you can’t find anywhere else.

Together, we can stop all of the pipelines, export terminals, compressor stations and more. Monday, we’ll learn more about how the Keystone XL fight will continue.

Also on Monday, hundreds of us from this conference will take to the streets and visit the home-offices of some of the biggest fracking, pipeline and polluting companies in America. They all share office space a few minutes outside Pittsburgh, one of the reasons we picked this city to host our conference (in the belly of the beast, so to speak). This, too, gives me hope that we can rise up – stronger, more unified, and more defiant no matter what happens on Monday.

For now, I just wanted to send you a quick update, invite you to follow along on our Facebook page and on the hashtag #peoplevsOilGas on Twitter. If you haven’t yet (or even if you have) it’s a great idea to share the news about the Keystone 1 spill on Facebook and Twitter. The more attention this spill gets, the harder it will be for the Nebraska PSC to approve it on Monday.

We’ve gone big, now it’s time to bring the message home:

Thanks again for being one of the now more than 100,000 people worldwide (!) who have signed on to demand that the Equator banks stop funding climate disasters and respect indigenous rights. Now, it’s time to deliver:

Can you RSVP to host or attend a delivery event with us next week as our big, indigenous-led coalition delivers our message to banks all over the world? Click here to get started.

TD bank protest

Next week (October 23-25) there will be actions at local bank branches in various places in the world, and we want to show the strength of our numbers. Activists will be showing up at local bank branches, representing the greater audience holding banks accountable, and asking whether companies like Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and others will follow BNP Paribas’ lead and #DivestTheGlobe.

Dozens of events are already planned that you can attend or participate in. Or, if you don’t see one near you, sign up to host: Our partners at Mazaska talks have made everything easy for you with simple downloadable materials and toolkits, and online event tools. All you have to do is grab a couple of friends, head to the nearest branch of one of our 90+ target banks and deliver a letter. Or, get as creative as you like – plan a rallyshut down 100 banks in a single daymeet with a local Mayor or elected official to talk about divestment — It’s up to you!

Get started now by clicking here to find or and plan your local #DivestTheGlobe event.

See you in the streets,

Drew and the 198 methods to stop a pipeline crew.

PS – It’s not too late to invite friends to sign the petition! Share this link before Monday to make sure everyone’s comment is included in the delivery events: https://petitions.signforgood.com/EquatorBanksAct/?code=198m