Obama’s Rejection of Keystone XL Pipeline is a Victory for People’s Social Movements

350.org’s Clayton Thomas Mueller says President Obama’s historic decision speaks to the power of environmental, indigenous and labor movements that opposed Keystone XL

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Story Transcript

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

In major breaking news today President Obama has announced that after four years of deliberation the White House is rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline. The president said that it, quote, would not serve the national interests of the United States, and he added that the United States needs to lead by example to prevent large parts of this earth from becoming uninhabitable due to fossil fuels causing climate change.

Now joining us to give us his take on the president’s big announcement is our guest Clayton Thomas Mueller. He’s an organizer for the Defenders of the Land and Idle No More. Thank you so much for joining us, Clayton.

CLAYTON THOMAS MUELLER: Hey, thanks so much for having me.

DESVARIEUX: So Clayton, right off the bat, do you see this announcement as being a victory?

MUELLER: Absolutely. You know, I think that this victory, you know, this rejection of the northern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline by President Obama is emblematic of the power of people’s social movements. Thousands of citizens of the United States and Canada, indigenous peoples, representatives of civil society, big unions have all come together to make the Keystone XL the lightning rod of the new movement for climate justice, the fastest growing social movement on mother earth. And today’s rejection is definitely a huge feather in the cap for the climate justice movement, and certainly it’s a day to be celebrated.

And for us here in Canada, you know, we’re on day two of the Climate Welcome here at the residence of our new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, where we received this news. So we’re here today as part of four days of peaceful sit-ins to send a clear message to the new Canadian government that we need to freeze tar sands expansion, and we need to unthaw Canada’s investment into a just, renewable energy economy. So today’s news couldn’t be more empowering for those that are standing behind me at the residence, of our new prime minister’s house. This is a very big, empowering step forward in the right direction during the era of climate change.

DESVARIEUX: And you guys are really there on the front lines. We just saw some of those images of you guys being there at Trudeau’s residence. You spoke a bit about what you are hoping to achieve, but just kind of give us a sense of how long this battle has been going. It’s still ongoing. And what was the major, major roadblock that is going to be for you Canadians, now, to get Trudeau to stop expanding tar sands extractions?

MUELLER: Well, we started, you know, our Climate Welcome for the new prime minister and his Liberal cabinet yesterday on their first day of work after the Canadian elections. And so for us, the message coming from the government of Canada yesterday was that they still adamantly support TransCanada’s KXL proposal. Of course with that out the door, the pressure is on TransCanada and on the Liberal government here in Canada, who still very much supports tar sands expansion and the building of tar sands infrastructure like the other big TransCanada pipeline, Energy East, which is a battle that’s raging here in Canada, from Alberta all the way to the Atlantic, where they want to build this other tar sands pipeline. And there’s many other pipelines that are still on the table.

So for us, you know, our message today to the new prime minister is that we need to stop tar sands at the source. We don’t want our grandchildren campaigning against pipelines. We want our grandchildren building windmills and installing photovoltaics on their homes, and planting gardens. So you know, we’re here today and we’ll be here right through until Sunday with symbolic gifts representing the ambitions of the climate justice movement to give to the prime minister. And our message to him is that he needs to come down and meet the people and accept these gifts.

Included, of course, on the final day are Canadian-made solar panels that we hope that Prime Minister Trudeau installs on the 24 Sussex home that he’s going to be using with his family for the next four years.

DESVARIEUX: Well, Clayton, we’ll certainly be tracking all that pressure you’ll be applying to the Canadian prime minister. Thank you so much for joining us.

MUELLER: Thanks so much for having me. For more information, visit our website: ClimateWelcome.ca.

DESVARIEUX: All right. And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.

End

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