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Sonoma County residents to join nationwide protests over oil pipeline

Ann Hancock at the Climate Protection Campaign offices in Santa Rosa.

Jeff Kan Lee / PD, 2012
Published: Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 2:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 2:13 p.m.

Barbara Moulton plans to join a rally Sunday in San Francisco aimed at convincing President Barack Obama to reject the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

“We're in deep trouble with climate change,” said Moulton, a Santa Rosa retiree and grandmother. “We're out of time. We can't delay any longer.”

The afternoon rally in front of the State Department office on Market Street is essentially a satellite version of a major protest on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., expected to attract tens of thousands of people.

That protest, which involves the Sierra Club's first-ever endorsement of civil disobedience, started last week at the White House, where actress Daryl Hannah, civil rights leader Julian Bond, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Sierra Club leader Michael Brune were arrested.

Their target is the $7 billion pipeline that would carry Canadian heavy crude oil to Gulf Coast refineries.

Backers say the pipeline's construction will create 6,000 jobs at a time of high unemployment; environmentalists cite NASA scientist James Hansen's comment that burning Canada's tar sands oil will be “game over” for climate change.

Environmentalists were also dismayed that Obama did not mention the Keystone XL project in his State of the Union speech last week.

“I think the president wants to do the right thing,” said Moulton, who plans to attend the rally with a friend, Bruce Pardoll of Santa Rosa.

A massive protest in Washington and around the country will help convince the president and members of Congress to halt the pipeline, Moulton said.

“They have felt it was politically poisonous,” she said.

Ann Hancock, executive director of Sonoma County's Climate Protection Campaign, said the size of a protest crowd is “a gauge of the importance of the issue.”

The pipeline is “a make it or break it proposition,” Hancock said, in terms of climate change, a global warming trend attributed to greenhouse gas emissions.

Hancock said she rejects the idea that the so-called “tipping point” in climate change may have passed or be so close that the consequences cannot be avoided.

“The game really is over if you don't try to do anything,” she said.

Hancock said the argument for 6,000 pipeline-related jobs is “laughable” because the jobs are temporary and the Earth's future is at stake.

Hancock said she is carpooling to the rally with three other people.

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