Going to jail for the environment
President Obama can choose between a clean energy future and dirty tar sands oil
By Mike Tidwell and Cindy Parker
2:49 PM EDT, August 22, 2011
As you read this, two starkly different visions of
One vision embraces the idea of developing clean-energy wind farms off the coast of Ocean City. Those wind farms could one day power millions of electric cars in our state at a price three times cheaper than gasoline — forever.
The other vision embraces a massive, 1,700-mile pipeline from
We are longtime
This protest began Saturday and is scheduled to continue daily for two full weeks. Close to 1,000 Americans in total are expected to get arrested at the White House as we did, earning a ride to the police station and a "disorderly conduct" misdemeanor charge.
We picked President Barack Obama's house for this sit-in because the president, by himself, with no input from Congress, can decide the fate of the tar sands pipeline. By law, mega-corporation TransCanada needs a "presidential permit" before it can build the pipeline across our border. If the company gets the permit, an area the size of
Plus, full exploitation of
So we could court multilayered disaster with this tar sands pipeline — or, in places like
And this is just the start. A study by the Baltimore-based Abell Foundation found that
But we'll never fully realize this potential tomorrow if we embrace dirty fuels like tar sands today. The $7 billion "Keystone XL" pipeline from
Conversely, a "no" from Mr. Obama would have lasting positive effects. It would send unambiguous signals to
Big Oil lobbyists, of course, are bombarding the president with demands he embrace the pipeline. That's why we got arrested and why 50 to 75 Americans will do the same daily until Sept. 3. It's a dose of people power as the president approaches his autumn decision.
Mike Tidwell is director of the
Copyright © 2011, The Baltimore Sun
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs