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'Phase two' of Keystone XL protests to be announced soon

Organizers of a two-week protest against Alberta's oil sands in Washington, DC, are promising news of "phase two" early this week.

"Details are being hammered out now, but suffice to say: we have our work cut out for us," reads a brief on, an online hub for the Washington protests. "Start by circling October 7th on your calender...This movement doesn't end here."

More than 1,250 activists were arrested between August 20 and September 3, protesting against Keystone XL, a pipeline that would carry Alberta oil sands crude to Texas Gulf Coast refineries.

Notable participants included Hollywood actress Daryl Hannah and NASA climate scientist James Hansen. The protest also gained the support of Radiohead singer Thom Yorke and actors Mark Ruffalo and Danny Glover.

The legacy of this mass act of civil disobedience is far from clear. Organizers had hoped to create a watershed moment for the burgeoning climate justice movement, one potentially influenced by the civil rights struggles of the 1960s.

Yet an environmental assessment from the State Department released during the protest predicted “no significant impacts” from the pipeline, a sign some observers took as strong U.S. government support for the project.

Activists in Canada are holding their own Keystone XL protest in Ottawa on September 26.

Geoff Dembicki reports on energy and climate issues for The Tyee.

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