Pipeline Spill Smothers Missoula’s First Friday Festivities

NRRT and the No Shipments Network stage solidarity action against Keystone XL Pipeline

In the largest act of environmental civil disobedience in decades, over 1,000 people have been arrested outside the White House, calling on the President and State Department to deny the federal permit for TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, which would carry Tar Sands heavy crude oil 1,700 miles from northern Alberta to the US Gulf Coast via Montana and six other states.

As climate scientists, landowners, indigenous leaders and others from around the country pledge to escalate a nationwide campaign to push President Obama to deny the permit for a new tar sands oil pipeline, Northern Rockies Rising Tide, the No Shipments Network, and much of the Missoula community stands in solidarity with those arrested in DC.

On Friday evening, NRRT and No Shipments Network organizers, dressed in oil executive suits and carrying a mock-pipeline, marched in the streets through downtown Missoula, staging fake oil spills along Higgins Avenue during the height of First Friday festivities.

In the wake of the Yellowstone River oil spill, Governor Schweitzer and President Obama have a choice. They can follow the same path that brought Billings-area residents to the emergency room and destroyed many farmers’ and ranchers’ livelihoods, or chart a new course – a clean energy future that puts Americans to work and saves lives.

The Missoula protest is a solidarity action with an historic, ongoing, two-week act of civil disobedience at the White House in Washington, DC, where 1,252 citizens, from grandmothers to college students, have been arrested demanding that the Obama administration deny permits for the Keystone XL pipeline.  The action comes as the US State Department considers whether or not to issue permits for the pipeline’s construction – a decision is likely to come by the end of the year.

Bill McKibben, well-known author and one of the leaders of the Washignton, DC protests, calls the pipeline “a fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent” – the Alberta Tar Sands.  Indeed, with three times the carbon impact of conventional oil, and requiring four times as much water to extract, NASA scientist Jim Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate research scientists, says that facilitating further development of Tar Sands oil by building the Keystone XL pipeline means it is “essentially game over” for the planet.”  What’s more, according to a study released this week, oil in the Keystone XL pipeline “would be bound for overseas markets rather than shoring up America’s domestic fuel supply,” and would in fact raise fuel prices for Americans.

We stand in solidarity with those protesting at the White House in Washington, DC, and we will continue to fight all tar sands infrastructure projects, including ExxonMobil’s megaloads, until we shut the bastards down.

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