Sunday, August 14, 2011

It All Began with Joanie

Joanie Kresich received an email inviting her to a civil disobedience action in Washington DC to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline which will allow further development of the Alberta Tar Sands. Participants could expect to be arrested at the White House. The email was signed by Bill McKibben, Wendell Berry, Naomi Klein, Danny Glover, James Hanson and other heroes of the movement to reduce climate-changing CO2 emissions. Joanie had recently heard Terry Tempest Williams speak in Bozeman and one of the things she said was that it is time to step up our commitment to protecting the world. It is time to put ourselves on the line. Joanie began to think that this action in Washington DC was her opportunity to do exactly that.

Soon after that, Democracy Now! aired a report on the 42,000 gallons of crude oil that had been dumped into the Yellowstone River when a pipeline ruptured. Since we live in Livingston, Montana on the banks of the Yellowstone, this spill, which happened downstream from us, was very close to home. In the Democracy Now! report, the rupture of the pipeline in the Yellowstone river was tied to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline which will be three times the diameter of the one that ruptured in the Yellowstone and will cross not only the Yellowstone, but the Missouri and the Ogallala Aquifer on its way to Texas. This made it more personal, more immediate - not only would the pipeline provide a market for tar sands oil which would explode carbon emissions to a level we will not be able to recover from, but the risk of a rupture resulting in the dumping of huge amounts of dirty, highly toxic tar sands oil seemed overwhelming.

Joanie sent the links to the Democracy Now! show and the invitation email to the Tar Sands Action to the other members of the Montana Women For board. At the next board meeting she announced that she was going to sign up and go to the action in Washington DC. Three other board members jumped on the bandwagon and the adventure began. A powerful video about the Tar Sands was recommended by Margarita Mclarty.

Margie Kidder, Margarita McLarty and Linda Kenoyer will be traveling with Joan from Livingston for the action. Margie's friend Tantoo Cardinal, a Canadian movie and TV actor of Metis Cree ancestry will be joining the group in Washington, DC. They will take part in the sit-in on the 23rd. There will be 100 or more people each day sitting in at the White House and probably being arrested between August 20 and September 3.

The four women from Montana Women For have invited their friends and everyone on the MWF mailing list to join them on their journey. Several people have expressed a desire to go, but no others have committed at this time. Many friends who cannot travel to DC have donated money to help defray travel costs and help pay fines for those arrested. We are encouraging everyone we know to call the White House on the 23rd and say that you support the Tar Sands Action and urge the President to deny permits for the Keystone Pipeline. The phone number for the White House is 202-456-1111. For those who prefer to use email, there is a website where you can enter email messages for the President:

There is much to be done before we leave. Stay tuned to this blog for updates as we embark on our TarSandsAction adventure.

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