Blog post

Bill versus the Pipeline

Francisco Salas10 November 2011

Author and activist Bill McKibben, who wrote the introduction to I'm With the Bears: Stories from a Damaged Planet, has a message for environmental activists working against the proposed Keyston XL pipeline:

Um, we won. You won.

Except... "Not completely." McKibben is referring to President Obama's recent decision to order a second environmental review, a move which some analysts consider to signal the proposal's certain demise. McKibben is promising to see this through, directly addressing activists working with his organization and encouraging them to continue their involvement in the campaign until the decision to shut down the pipeline project is finalized.

We will watch [the environmental review] process like hawks, making sure that it doesn't succumb to more cronyism. Perhaps this effort will go some tiny way towards cleaning up the Washington culture of corporate dominance that came so dramatically to light here in emails and lobbyist disclosure forms ...

There's a pledge to take bold action against the pipeline up on our site, and I'll be keeping your names an emails safely stored away so that you'll be the first to know about anything we need to do down the road.

Meanwhile, newspapers and industry news services are describing the Obama Administration's decision as no more than a "delay;" and Joe Oliver, the Canadian Minister of National Resources, is seeking support for an alternative route to supply Canadian oil to the Chinese market if Keystone XL falls through.

Finally, McKibben promises to escalate, should it prove necessary:

Our fight, of course, is barely begun. Some in our movement will say that this decision is just politics as usual: that the President wants us off the streets—and off his front lawn—until after the election, at which point the administration can approve the pipeline, alienating its supporters without electoral consequence. The president should know that if this pipeline proposal somehow reemerges from the review process we will use every tool at our disposal to keep it from ever being built; if there's a lesson of the last few months, both in our work and in the Occupy encampments around the world, it's that sometimes we have to put our bodies on the line.

Visit to read Bill's comments in full.