Environmentalist groups are training activists nationwide to conduct a mass civil disobedience campaign if the State Department recommends approval of the Keystone pipeline.
Three of those groups—CREDO Action, the Rainforest Action Network, and The Other 98%—say they have tens of thousands of supporters who have pledged to partake in the campaign.
“More than 69,000 people have pledged to risk arrest in acts of peaceful, dignified civil disobedience if the State Department issues a draft National Interest Determination (NID) that recommends approval of the Keystone XL pipeline,” CREDO Action said in a Friday email.
The pledge aims to “convince the White House that it will be politically unfeasible to go forward” with Keystone, according to a preface to the pledge on CREDO’s website.
“Our goal is not to get arrested,” CREDO says. “But if [President Barack Obama] shows clear signs he that he is preparing to approve it, we will be ready.”
CREDO said the three groups have organized events in 25 American cities to train activists in conducting protest activities.
“More than 750 people have signed up to lead local actions in their communities and attend the organizer trainings,” the organization wrote.
CREDO and others involved in the effort portray it as a grassroots push against Keystone. But pipeline supporters claim the environmentalist groups organizing the campaign are well-funded “astroturf” organizations.
“Organizers and trainers are all foundation-funded,” said Ron Arnold, executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise and author of EcoTerror: The Violent Agenda to Save Nature.