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Posted on on January 17th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

from  Bill McKibben       –

Dear Friends  —

Time to Blow the Whistle on Big Oil Corruption.

{THEY COULD NOT GET POLICE PERMITS FOR THE MONDAY THE 23rd BECAUSE THE TOWN IS TAKEN BY the annual anti-abortion march on Washington.}

Hate to do this, but the holidays are well and truly over and I fear that if we want to stop the Keystone pipeline, not to mention climate change, we’ve got to get back to work. January 23—a week from Monday, gulp—is the date we need you to circle, especially if you’re somewhere along the East Coast.

Here’s the story–things in Washington are getting weird.  We don’t have super-secret inside information, but as far as we can tell the administration is still committed to calling Big Oil’s bluff—we think they’ll deny the permit for Keystone sometime before the February 21 deadline.

But that seems only to have enraged the fossil fuel industry.The head of the American Petroleum Institute promised ‘huge electoral consequences’ if Obama denies the permits; meanwhile, the fossil fuel harem on Capitol Hill is planning to introduce legislation that would take away the president’s right to make the decision and simply grant the permit themselves.

So: we need to make a stand. A stand against the big money that’s polluted this process: remember, the 234 Congresspeople who voted to expedite Keystone had taken $42 million in dirty energy money. (This week the Maplight Foundation laid it out in even more graphic detail—you can see the details here.)

We need to be outraged—if this is what business as usual looks like, then business as usual isn’t acceptable and has to stop before the planet cooks. No one would countenance this kind of corruption at a high school gymnastics meet—it’s simply not right to take money from a company and then vote on its interests.

Here’s the plan: Instead of circling the White House, this time we’re going to show up at Congress. And we’re going to do it in…referee’s uniforms.

On January 23, the day they return to business, we’ll be there at 3 in the afternoon, ready to blow the whistle on their corruption. The demonstration will start on Capitol hill, and then we will head to the headquarters of the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s #1 lobby. We’re going to call penalties—forget facemasking, this is vote-buying. Forget unsportsmanlike conduct—this is undemocratic conduct.

This time we plan to get up close and personal with some of the worst folks on Capitol Hill – it won’t work right away. These guys have been having their way for so long that it won’t dawn on them quickly that the game is us. We’ll have to fight them all spring long to prevent Keystone, and to take away the billions in subsidies that they present each year to the oil industry (with our money). But if we’re going to take back our country we’ve got to start somewhere, and January 23 is the day.

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