Remember that massive tar sands pipeline that so many people were concerned enough about that they were willing to risk getting arrested over in both Canada and the US? Well, Stephen Harper may have thought it was a “no brainer”, but it looks like President Obama is having second thoughts.

Environmental, First Nations and labour activists prepare to cross the police line in Ottawa to protest the tar sands

The US State Department just announced that they are making Transcanada, the company that wants to build it, start over. And they were explicit in stating that when they come forward with a new plan, they will look at it in light of its impacts on the climate.

We think that’s a great idea because the proposed Keystone XL pipeline (and other proposed new tar sands pipelines like Enbridge’s Northern Gateway proposal to build a pipeline across the Rockies to the BC coast) would increase toxic tar sands development and come at an unacceptable cost to people and the climate.

This reversal (unthinkable only 6 months ago) really is a testament to people power, which is what we emphasized in the statement we sent out to the media:

“A year ago this pipeline was assumed to be a done deal, but thanks to the amazing strength and determination of ordinary people concerned about water, climate change and the health of communities, we have a decision that brings us a little closer to the world we need.

The growing global opposition to the tar sands coupled with today’s decision by the President sends a clear signal to governments and investors that the tar sands are a toxic energy source that the world must transition away from. People from all walks of life, and on both sides of the border, said that deepening our addiction to dirty oil is unacceptable in a world threatened by global warming.

This decision could protect a water source that provides safe drinking water for 3 million people. The next decision must take into account how a new tar sands pipeline would threaten water in Alberta and fuel global warming by enabling the expansion of the tar sands.

This has to become more than simply a delay. We will work to ensure this day is remembered as the beginning of the end for the tar sands.”

Thanks to all our members and supporters, as well as our allies around the world, for helping make this happen. We hope you will join us in making this truly a day to remember.