Keystone XL: We want to hear from you

CREDO action
Keystone XL: Keeping pressure on the president in a Republican Congress

Dear 5849376,

Yesterday's narrow Keystone XL victory in the Senate is good news – but it shows how the political battlefield on Keystone XL is starting to shift. And we want to hear what you think about the best ways to pressure the president.

Over 95,000 people have pledged to risk arrest in peaceful civil disobedience if the State Department recommended to President Obama that he approve this pipeline.

But after Democrats lost the midterms, the fight over Keystone XL has shifted considerably to the Senate.

The decision still belongs to the president. There is still an ongoing State Department National Interest Determination process. The pipeline route in Nebraska is still tied up in the courts – possibly for months more, and TransCanada's permit to build in South Dakota is still expired.

But starting next year, the president will face a relentless onslaught of bills from Congress trying to force approval of this pipeline. We got a preview yesterday, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid inexplicably allowed a Keystone XL vote in a misguided effort to help Mary Landrieu – which failed despite the support of a handful of unprincipled Democrats who claim to support climate action but vote like climate deniers, including Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and Delaware Sen. Tom Carper.

It will be up to the president to veto these bills. Yesterday's vote reaffirms that even after Republicans take control of the Senate in January, they will lack the votes to override the President's veto.

We need to be prepared to repeatedly push the president to veto Republican-passed Keystone XL approvals. As time passes this will become increasingly difficult for the president as pro-Keystone amendments are attached to must-pass bills like the budget. Everytime we beat them back our victory is only temporary. Republicans will call these votes again, and again, and again.

The political landscape has changed drastically and we have to be ready to change how we fight. For those of us who signed the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance1 we may need to rethink the value of targeting State Department offices, federal buildings, Canadian embassies and other locations relevant to the State Department approval process. Those who didn't sign the pledge but are now considering getting involved in civil disobedience if necessary need to decide how and when to take direct action to stop the Senate from forcing approval of the pipeline.

When and where should we call for peaceful, civil disobedience to block the Keystone XL pipeline? Let us know what you think now.

Your pressure has been effective on President Obama, so far. It's been almost four years since the Keystone XL pipeline was considered a done deal, and still President Obama hasn't approved it. And there is reason to be hopeful the president will veto legislative approvals of Keystone XL. Last week, he used his strongest language yet, calling Keystone XL an export pipeline that wouldn't lower gas prices and reiterating his commit to the climate test and the State Department process.

CREDO worked hard to Save the Senate this year. CREDO SuperPAC ran huge volunteer field campaigns in key states – because we knew if Republicans took control, they would try and force President Obama into an approval, repeatedly. That's the reality now in Washington, D.C. and we need to adjust our strategy accordingly.

We know the president has the votes in the Senate required sustain his veto. But what we don't know is how the president will respond to a Keystone XL approval attached to a must-pass bill to fund the government – a reckoning that is sure to come, possibly repeatedly.

One thing we can be sure of: We must continue to do everything in our power to stop the "game over for the climate" Keystone XL pipeline.

Your input needed: When and where should we engage in peaceful civil disobedience to block the Keystone XL pipeline?

Thanks for all you do.

Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance

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