Here’s the press release from organizer Cathy Holt:
Saturday, April 5, the fourth in a series of nonviolent civil disobedience trainings will be held at the Friends Meeting House on Edgewood Road from 9am to 1pm. To date, over 65 people have taken part in these trainings in Asheville. National groups CREDO Action, Rainforest Action Network, and The Other 98% have been working together to organize mass, nation-wide, local actions of “Pledge of Resistance” to the Keystone XL Pipeline. Should the State Department recommend approval of the pipeline, citizens from all across the country are prepared to partake in peaceful sit-ins in strategic locations, demanding that President Obama veto the Pipeline and keep his promise to address the threat of climate change. Over 94,000 citizens nationally have signed the pledge, and civil disobedience trainings have been held in over 100 cities.
Why? Because, as climate scientist James Hanson succinctly put it, “This pipeline would mean ‘game over’ for the climate.” The KXL is slated to transport some 800,000 barrels a day of tar sands bitumen—the dirtiest oil on the planet—from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf, for export to China. Not only would this oil mean runaway climate chaos, it would also risk the contamination of major water supplies in the event of leaks and spills. A huge area of Alberta, home of many indigenous peoples, has already been reduced to a toxic wasteland.
The training to be held in Asheville this Saturday by members of Asheville’s chapter of 350.org will include the history and significance of nonviolent direct action, and why it’s called for now. Participants will practice role playing and responding peacefully in potentially provocative encounters. Jail support and legal support are being organized in the event arrests are made of participants.
“Many of us protesting the Keystone Pipeline here in Asheville supported and helped elect President Obama because we believed he would address the very serious threat of climate change. Now we are holding President Obama to his promise to take action to protect Americans from this threat,” said Debby Genz, a spokesperson for the group. ” There is no doubt that the Keystone Pipeline would accelerate climate change by exporting some of the dirtiest oil on the planet to be burned in China.” Ms. Genz says that as soon as early May, Secretary Kerry may announce whether the pipeline is in the national interest. A recommendation to go ahead with the Keystone Pipeline will trigger the largest wave of massive civil disobedience in modern US history.