Keystone XL Followup

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

(h/t Blue Texan)

Van Jones AWOL at Tarsands Action Once Again, But Calls for Mass Civil Unrest if Obama Approves Keystone XL Pipeline

By: Jane Hamsher, Firedog Lake

Monday November 7, 2011 10:10 am

Van Jones was conspicuously absent when we were getting arrested at the White House that day in September (Overheard in the paddy wagon: “Where’s Van Jones? You think he would want to be here.”) He couldn’t come yesterday either, but he sent along a rather unequivocal condemnation of President Obama for even considering approval of the Keystone XL pipeline,  calling for people to respond with mass civil disobedience if he does.

That affirmation is good to hear.  There shouldn’t have been anything to keep him from lifting a pen and signing onto the October 4 letter from environmental leaders protesting the questionable relationship between Hillary Clinton and other State Department officials with Trans Canada and the process that they are using to determine approval of the pipeline. But 12,500 people is a lot more than 65, and it’s hard for a leading environmentalist to retain any street cred within the community and remain silent on this.

Regardless of whatever political calculus is happening behind the scenes, I was impressed by the unequivocal tone of the Jones’ email.  It can’t sit well with the White House, because the President is clearly looking for a way to approve the pipeline. Calling for mass civil unrest if Obama does so will not only inflame Jones’s rabid right-wing critics (of which he has many), but it may be something he actually has to follow through on.

After Obama threw him under the bus, Van could have done many things.  He chose to join the Center for American Progress, the think-tank whose job it is to slap the “good liberal seal of approval” on decidedly non-progressive things the White House wants to do, like perpetuating the War in Afghanistan.  (CAP recently told Politico that environmentalists will be satisfied if Obama simply punts on the piepline until after the election, because “people who are concerned about this will feel he has been listening to them.”)

And he also recently launched his Rebuild the Dream organization, which clearly hopes to be on the receiving end of the massive Democratic 2012 election money gravy train.  Maybe it just wasn’t flowing fast enough, and this was a warning shot.  But now Van has put himself on the line, and even if Obama does punt, the Keystone XL pipeline will nonetheless continue to be a front-burner election issue with the young people Obama must turn out in 2012 – people with whom Jones has quite a bit of influence.

I just don’t think we live in a world where the oil companies don’t ultimately get their way, and some route for the pipeline isn’t approved. I look forward to participating in civil disobedience with Van Jones to protest construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, regardless of who is residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue when it happens.


  1. Obama to expand drilling off Alaska, in Gulf

    By DINA CAPPIELLO, Associated Press

    3 hours ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) – The Obama administration cautiously offered up more areas in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska’s coast to oil and gas drilling Tuesday, but didn’t go far enough to satisfy Republicans pushing to greatly expand drilling as way to create jobs and wean the country off foreign oil.

    Interior Secretary Ken Salazar unveiled a proposal to hold 15 lease sales for areas in the Gulf of Mexico, including two in the eastern Gulf, and three off Alaska’s coast in 2012-2017. The sales off Alaska, where native groups and environmentalists have objected to drilling, would be the first since 2008. And they would be held late in the five-year timeframe to allow time for scientific evaluations in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, which Interior officials called a “frontier” for drilling. They also would be targeted to avoid areas with cultural and environmental sensitivities, officials said.

    The drilling plans are the latest iteration of President Barack Obama’s strategy for energy production, which has continually shifted to account for political realities, high gasoline prices and environmental disasters, such as last year’s Gulf oil spill. Weeks before that disaster, the White House had talked of expanding offshore drilling off Alaska, in the Atlantic and throughout the eastern Gulf, in part to help move stalled climate-change legislation through Congress. It pulled back late last year after the blowout of the Deep Water Horizon oil rig.

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