“Draw the line on the pipeline. Draw the line on the pipeline,” a group of protestors shouted on Saturday morning, drenched in the first downpour of an early autumn.
The group, holding pieces of red rope and neon tape to link together, formed a human chain around the soggy lawn in front of City Hall in opposition to the construction of the 1,700-mile long Keystone XL Pipeline that would carry oil from Canada tar sands to Texas refineries.
Dozens of Sonomans participated in the national effort of the environmental organization 350.org, to hold president Obama accountable for campaign comments he made about not approving projects that would increase carbon in the atmosphere in order to preserve the planet. When renowned environmental activist-author and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben spoke in Sonoma last weekend, he was quick to point out that, if Obama holds true to his word and stops the Keystone pipeline, he will be the first politician to prevent construction in consideration of climate change.
“This is a great turnout,” said 350.org supporter Tim Boeve, “especially for a rainy day.” Boeve’s daughter is executive director, and one of the founder’s, of 350.org. Along with several other Sonomans in the local environmental group Transition Sonoma Valley, Boeve organized the Sonoma event which staked out the front of City Hall for nearly 40 minutes, beginning at 9 a.m. on Sept. 21.
Grouped around a TSV banner that read “Sonoma Draw the Line – No Tar Sands,” rain-gear-clad protestors held a variety of signs. Alexandra Bassett held a sign that read “Stop Keystone XL” using the “O” from Obama’s campaign in a clear effort to call attention to the president’s environmental policy. “I’m here because I want to keep breathing,” said Bassett. “I want to keep drinking clean water and keep living in Sonoma Valley.”