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This week, we finally had some good news in the fight against climate change: President Barack Obama announced a further delay in the review process for the Keystone XL pipeline. The right thing to do is to reject the pipeline once and for all, but we all know politics is never that simple. The president says no decision will be made until the end of the year, which means the deadline comes after this year’s election. But the president isn’t up for re-election again, and protecting the environment should not be a partisan issue. All of us have a stake here.
We need more time, President Obama says, more reviews, more answers. But for Sojourners’ Rose Berger, who has been a leader in the faith community’s witness against Keystone XL, the answer has been clear for a long time.
“The Keystone XL pipeline has been morally problematic since its inception. People of faith raised the warning early that this pipeline was an affront to God’s creation and would endanger the poor. It really is the gateway to climate hell.
As Easter people, we know we are on God’s side. We stand with the New Creation -- and it does not include the Keystone XL pipeline.
President Obama needs to deny the pipeline permit now. This is no time for playing politics. We need him to step up his leadership in combatting climate change. He needs to be much bolder than he has been so far. As Christians, we have the long view and we know President Obama wants to have that view also.”
Berger and other Sojourners staff will be joining an unusual cast of characters in Washington, D.C., this week, as the Reject & Protect witness stands up against the destructive force of a pipeline full of carbon pollution and sludge. Reject & Protect brings together cowboys, Indians, college students, pastors, and environmentalists, all of them standing against the Canadian oil company TransCanada’s pipeline, which would endanger water sources, wildlife, ranch and farmland, sacred ground, and the climate. They aren’t all normally in the same place; one of the participating groups, the Cowboy Indian Alliance, has a name that certainly turns heads. But all of them recognize that the Keystone XL pipeline is an unacceptable threat, and that President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry need to see just how steadfast this movement is.
But today, with this temporary bit of good news – that it will be many months before the White House says yes or no to this pipeline – let’s send our political leaders a rare thank you. Even if President Obama and Secretary Kerry, who are the final deciders on this issue, have not yet done the right thing, let us thank them for the delay, and tell them we’re excited for the day when they finally say no to leaky pipelines of pollution. Even if we don’t agree with everything President Obama says or does, right now, we’re grateful this pipeline isn’t being built yet. Let’s say thank you.
Click here to add your voice to our thank you letter to President Obama and Secretary Kerry.
At Sojourners, we will continue to stand against the Keystone XL pipeline, shoulder to shoulder with tribal leaders Faith Spotted Eagle (Yankton Sioux) and Winona Laduke (Anishinaabe), as well as evangelical leaders like Lowell Bliss (Eden Vigil) and Rich Cizik (New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good) and people committed to preserving God’s good world. We want you to join us!
To find out how you can participate in the Reject & Protect rally with us (in person or from the comfort of your own home), sign up for our Earth Week emails here!
Liz Schmitt is Creation Care Campaign Associate for Sojourners.