Thousands Across the U.S. Protest Keystone XL Pipeline

February 10, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


More than 200 demonstrations and vigils were held across the country in the first week of February, in wake of the release of the U.S. State Department environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline project. According to, 10,000 people participated nationwide in these actions.

The State Department report clearly paves the way for Obama administration approval later this year of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring 830,000 barrels of oil per day from the Alberta, Canada, tar sands and U.S. Bakken oil shale formation, to U.S. refineries, further exacerbating the global climate crisis and other environmental damage through oil spills, etc. (See “State Department Review of Keystone XL Pipeline: Criminal Whitewash, Unacceptable Logic” at By May 1, other U.S. government agencies are supposed to weigh in on whether Keystone XL is in the “national interest” and recommend whether President Obama should approve the project. The decision by Obama will come sometime after that.

The protests were called by the Sierra Club,, CREDO, Rainforest Action, and other environmental groups. In San Francisco, 28 people were arrested on February 5 for blocking the Federal Building. One of the organizers told a local news blog, “I think the Keystone is the symbol of a larger fight. I will put my body on the line to shift the paradigm that we need fossil fuels to exist.” Two hundred people gathered in Seattle, including young people new to activism. Revolution spoke with youths who were eager to hear a revolutionary analysis/critique of Keystone XL as stemming from capitalism and the need for radical resistance. A speaker from the Rising Tide Seattle collective called on people to oppose all forms of fossil fuel transport and development and gave props to blockade actions that have occurred around the country.

More than 80,000 people have signed up with an online pledge to commit civil disobedience if the government gives a green light to Keystone XL ( Indigenous groups on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border as well as landowners in Nebraska have pledged to resist attempts to build the pipeline. A group called XL Dissent has called for mass civil disobedience by young people for March 1-2 in Washington, DC.

These protests point to increasing alarm about Keystone XL and the potential for broader, more determined mass resistance to the environmental damage caused by the system of capitalism. In this situation, the analysis, vision and strategy for revolution available at need to reach many, many people.


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