This is a guest post by Jamie L. Vernon, Ph.D., a research scientist, policy analyst and science communications strategist, who encourages the scientific community to get engaged in the policy-making process
***Update (huffington post): Actress Daryl Hannah has joined the over 500 people who have been arrested since August 20 for a sit-in protest outside the White House. I just left the White House where environmental activist Bill McKibben was joined by actress Daryl Hannah and dozens of concerned citizens to prepare for another day of protests against opening the Keystone XL Pipeline. They are opposing U.S. approval of the pipeline, a 1,700-mile pipe from Canada to Texas, that would transport petroleum fuels across multiple states and below one of the nations largest aquifers. The campaign has been going on since August 24 and over 500 people have been arrested including Dr. James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Dr. Hansen explained his participation in the protest by stating, "Einstein said to think and not act is a crime. If we understand the situation, we must try to make it clear." Hansen has previously described the opening of the pipeline as "game over" for our climate. He described the situation to Solve Climate News this way:
President George W. Bush said that the U.S. was addicted to oil. So what will the U.S. response to this situation be? Will it entail phasing out fossil fuels and moving to clean energy or borrowing the dirtiest needle from a fellow addict? That is the question facing President Obama. If he chooses the dirty needle it is game over because it will confirm that Obama was just greenwashing, like the other well-oiled coal-fired politicians with no real intention of solving the addiction. Canada is going to sell its dope, if it can find a buyer. So if the United States is buying the dirtiest stuff, it also surely will be going after oil in the deepest ocean, the Arctic, and shale deposits; and harvesting coal via mountaintop removal and long-wall mining. Obama will have decided he is a hopeless addict.
President Obama has deferred to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton for the ultimate decision. I'll let the Secretary's own words speak for her: What do you think? Is the Obama Administration making us safer and creating jobs by approving the pipeline? Behind the scenes images (below) captured by Jamie Vernon: