WASHINGTON, DC — Another 52 Americans were arrested at the White House this morning for taking part in an ongoing sit-in to push President Obama to stand up to Big Oil and deny the permit for a massive new oil pipeline. (1) In total, 162 people have been arrested since the ongoing protest began on Saturday.
This morning’s demonstrators came to Washington, DC from across the country, willing to spend their vacation in handcuffs to send a message to the President that they feel has abandoned their values and his promises to take on climate change.Lori Fischer, the co-director for Nebraska Environmental Action Coalition and a member of Nebraska Farmers Union, traveled with five other Nebraskans and was arrested this morning. She said before her arrest:“If the government is going to refuse to step up to the responsibility to defend a livable future, I believe that creates a moral imperative for me and many others. This is a crucial issue for Nebraskans to speak up loudly about. Our land, water, and the future of our children are at stake. I feel our leaders need to take seriously their responsibility to pass on a healthy and just world to the next generation, I am going to Washington remind them.”This morning, the New York Times editorial board reiterated its opposition to the pipeline, writing, “The State Department] should acknowledge the environmental risk of the pipeline and the larger damage caused by tar sands production and block the Keystone XL.” (2)
Many of the protest’s lead organizers remained in jail this morning after being arrested during Saturday morning’s first act of civil disobedience., including former White House official and co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Gus Speth.“We the prisoners being held in the Central Cell Block of the D.C. Jail need company and encourage the continuation of the protests against the tar sands pipeline,” said Speth. “I’ve held numerous positions and public office in Washington but my current position feels like one of the most important.”The sit-in at the White House will continue tomorrow morning with 50 more Americans and Canadians risking arrest to protect their air, water, and climate.
Over 2,000 people have registered to take part in the sit-in, which will continue every day until September 3.Among those planning on being arrested tomorrow are film-star Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in four Superman movies, and actress Tantoo Cardinal, an iconic Cree actress who appeared in Dances with Wolves, Legends of the Fall, Smoke Signals and more. Cardinal, who was born in Ft. McMurray, Alberta, the capitol of the tar sands, was made made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2009.Tomorrow, she will risk arrest to stop the destruction of her homeland and push President Obama to help shut down the tar sands by denying a permit for the Keystone XL.
Notes to the editor (1) President Obama will decide later this year on TransCanada’s permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which will send 900,000 barrels a day of the world’s dirtiest oil to US refineries, allowing further development of the Alberta tar sands. The pipeline would pass through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Mining oil from tar sands creates three times more carbon emissions than conventional oil extraction.