On Tuesday President Obama visited Phoenix and was greeted by 30 energized citizens putting pressure on him to reject the Keystone XL pipeline – a proposed project that would pump tar sands crude across the country from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
World-renowned climate scientist James Hansen has said approval of the pipeline would mean essentially “game over” for any hope of stabilizing global temperatures. In a landmark speech on climate change at Georgetown University in June, President Obama indicated that the pipeline would only be approved if it doesn’t “exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”
“We’re here to hold the president to his word,” said Kevin Hengehold, one of the activists present. “We know the tar sands are a climate disaster, and the Keystone XL is the linchpin of the tar sands development. If Obama wants to be a leader in confronting the climate crisis, he needs to step up and reject this pipeline.”
Chants heard at the Phoenix rally included, “No heat wave, no drought – kick the tar sands out!” and “Hey, Obama, we don’t want no climate drama!”
At one point immigration reform advocates across the street with the group “Puente Arizona” and pipeline opponents shared a chant, in a beautiful moment of solidarity.
Opponents of the pipeline have met Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry at every official visit across the country, keeping the pressure on for a rejection of the pipeline. Pressure is building as the nation awaits the State Department’s releases of the National Interest Determination, which will determine whether the President okays the construction of the northern leg of the pipeline. More than 1.2 million people commented on the most recent environmental impact assessment.
More photos from the event can be found on flickr.