Jerry Lawler was arrested at the White House on August 21. He then produced a three-minute short, filmed on August 22.
Can you call the White House and tell President Obama to oppose the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline?
The White House: 202-456-1111
Then, report your call by clicking here: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/report-call/
Pipeline Protests: Beyond the Usual Suspects
Monday 29 August 2011
by: Madeline Ostrander, Yes! Magazine Report
On Sunday, August 21, dozens of people continued the two-week long daily sit-in at the White House to protest the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
Can opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline bring conservatives back to conservation?
Several months ago, John Stansbury, a soft-spoken professor from
that would carry oil from
The 61-year-old civil engineer also happens to be an expert in the transport of hazardous materials. And as he learned more about Keystone XL, he saw a disaster in the making. After the meeting, Stansbury began poring over official risk assessments of the pipeline and thought they grossly underestimated the probability of a spill. He was so troubled that he did something he's never done before--he courted media attention. He drafted an independent report on the pipeline, asked the organization Friends of the Earth to help announce his findings, and held a press conference. He predicts the pipeline could have approximately 91 significant spills over the next 50 years--eight times as many as the energy company TransCanada estimated.
Keystone XL has enough strikes against it to turn political neophytes like Stansbury into first-time activists, and to compel some unusual alliances between conservatives and progressives. The pipeline was proposed by TransCanada in 2008, but its potentially disastrous consequences have only recently gotten significant national attention.  It is designed to transport viscous, corrosive bitumen extracted from oil shale in
The project awaits only a rubber stamp from the State Department before it can move forward. But environmentalists, scientists, and activists are pressuring Obama  to halt it. And the pipeline crosses through a series of red states, where it has met surprising resistance from some vocal opponents, in large part because of the risks to water supplies. Both conservatives and progressives have plenty of sour memories of the Deepwater Horizon spill last year and this summer's spill on the
Moreover, the Plains have enough of a libertarian and populist streak to make at least a few people distrustful of a Canadian oil corporation and a federal-government-led review process with little public input. Rural conservatives have been turning out at environmental meetings in
"We have to look beyond any political differences that we have because we have a common goal here," says Randy Thompson, a rancher who has become the face of pipeline opposition in
This month, Thompson was the poster child for a series of
Pipeline opponents have been especially vocal in Thompson's home state, and a random survey last fall of 500 Nebraskans showed that nearly half oppose the pipeline when they are given details about its impact.
But people like Thompson are still the exception. The majority of conservatives aren't ready to shake hands with climate activists. And there are few signs that Republicans in Congress are listening to pipeline opponents. Nebraska Republican Senator Mike Johanns has raised concerns about Keystone XL, but Republicans in the House have voted to fast-track the pipeline and force Obama to decide by November 1.
Still, Americans on both ends of the political spectrum are fed up  with corporations' deep influence in politics, and many who have been following the pipeline proposal don't think a Canadian company should be allowed to push rural communities around in the United States. The pipeline looks like an issue that could bring at least some conservatives back to conservation for the first time in many years--and perhaps even become a means for awakening more of the public to the threats posed by climate change. 
This week at the White House, pipeline protesters made a point of showing up in business clothes. One of the key messages of the demonstration is that average, law-abiding Americans are ready to take climate change seriously. The pipeline could be a rare moment for Obama to act on his commitment to post-partisan politics, make good on his promise to act on climate change, and stop one of the world's most environmentally disastrous projects. Madeline Ostrander 
Donations can be sent to the
"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