Sierra Club Will Break Law at DC Protest to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline

b402it was a lot warmer last time Sierra Club Will Break Law at DC Protest to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline

Yesterday, I reported in my column, “President
Obama Promises a Big Push on Climate Change,” that
environmental activists will gather in DC for the
Forward on Climate Rally on February 17th.  The protest
organizers, the Sierra Club and, are hoping that the
“largest climate rally in history” will persuade President Obama
not to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. That
pipeline would transport to Gulf Coast refineries nearly a million
barrels per day of petroleum derived from Canada’s oilsands.The board of directors of the Sierra Club consider the pipeline
so threatening to the globe’s climate that it has for the first
time ever
authorized members to participate in peaceful civil
“For civil disobedience to be justified, something must be so
wrong that it compels the strongest defensible protest,” said
Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director. “We are watching a
global crisis unfold before our eyes, and to stand aside and let it
happen — even though we know how to stop it — would be
As sincere as the Sierra Club folks are, civil disobedience in
planned DC demonstrations is not exactly like civil rights activists
facing Bull Connor in Birmingham in 1963. The group
orchestrated an earlier protest against the pipeline and offered
this helpful advice
in a memo to demonstrators:
There are no guarantees, but similar actions in DC have been
treated very consistently by authorities.  Typically, anyone
arrested in civil disobedience such as this get either a citation
(like a traffic ticket), or a simple misdemeanor charge (such as
Trespass, or Failure to Disperse, or Incommoding). 
Participants should plan to spend a night in jail. IF anything
changes, and police begin to release participants earlier, we will
inform you at the training. We’re anticipating that arrestees will
have the option to post-and-forfeit [typically a $100 fee] when
they appear before a judge the next day. People who choose to not
pay this fine may remain in custody longer, have to return for a
future court date, or face additional charges.  Currently, the
charge we’re anticipating is Failure to Obey a Police Officer (see
FAQ below), which is equivalent to a traffic ticket and carries no
jail time.
The Sierra Club was evidently moved to act because Nebraska Gov.
David Heineman
approved yesterday the building of the pipeline through his
state based on the finding by his Department of Environmental
Quality that the project would have “minimal impact” on the
environment. Althought the State Department has already found the
project environmentally safe, the president delayed approval until
after the 2012 election and asked for another review which will
likely be issued in March.In his second inaugural speech, the president made it clear that
addressing climate change is going to be a central goal of his
second term. If he rules that the pipeline is not in “the national
interest,” get ready for some truly interesting times when it comes
to energy and climate policy.For background see my column, “Don’t
Be Afraid of the Keystone XL Pipeline.”

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Sierra Club Will Break Law at DC Protest to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline

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