No Tar Sands Group Archive

This page is filled with content from previous No Tar Sands Group postings.

Click here for Background Information on Tar Sands and The Keystone XL Pipeline

Bay Area Objectives: Getting public and news media attention on the problems with Tar Sands mining and transport across the U.S. via the Keystone XL pipeline, and attracting new 350BayArea members and other supporters.  

Forums on the New Dangers of Extreme Energy, from Canada to Contra Costa

The Sunflower Alliance hosted - and 350 Bay Area proudly co-sponsored - a series of forums in northern Contra Costa County on the dangers of the fossil fuel industry’s turn to extreme energy in recent years. CoCoCo and Benicia are home to five refineries, specializing in the dirtiest and heaviest crude oils, and the industry has proposed five major projects to expand refineries and bring in crude oil by train.

Panelist experts and community activists, featuring a special guest from Lac-Mégantic, Canada, which suffered a devastating oil train explosion last July that killed 47 people, educated us on Big Oil’s plans and the local, regional, and global effects.

We learned about the consequences for our community, and learned how communities are organizing to fight back and protect our health and safety!

There were three forums: Pittsburg, on Monday, February 24th; Martinez, on Wednesday, February 26th; and Richmond, on Saturday, March 1st.

Find out more on the Sunflower Alliance website

On Monday Feb 3rd Rallies were held all across the country to protest the KXL Pipeline. NBC SF coverage

On Wednesday Feb 5th Police arrested 28 environmental activists who blockaded San Francisco’s Federal Building to protest the KXL Pipeline. Coverage & info at the Sunflower Alliance Action Page!

The Summer Heat March & Rally August 3rd was a Huge Success!!









A peaceful demonstration and civil disobedience action involving approximately 60 individuals occurred on Tuesday June 11, 2013 at the main entrance of the Westin Millbrae, before the start of, and during Facebook's first annual shareholder meeting.

Protesters were there to draw attention to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Political Action Committee,, and its financial support for TV ads promoting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The result was the arrest of five individuals who sat in the Westin hotel driveway entrance, blocking autos from entering. Four women and one man, all associated with the Keystone Action Council and 350 Bay, were physically removed and taken to a local jail by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department.  The demonstration and possible civil disobedience was widely publicized in advance and may have contributed to the pervasive police presence on and around the grounds of the Westin.

Facebook, perhaps fearing negative publicity and shareholder questions about Zuckerberg’s Keystone ads, its “failed” IPO last year, and rumors over possible Facebook cooperation with the National Security Agency and the government’s PRISM program, banned most Media from admittance to the Shareholder meeting itself, and instructed members of the Press to instead “listen to the webcast”.

The Keystone XL Action Council and 350 Bay have called upon Mr. Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley high tech leaders and members of FWD. us to publicly commit to:

1)    Refrain from bankrolling any more pro-fossil fuel industry Keystone XL and drilling ads.

2)    Commit the same amount of money already spent on funding these ads to support education about the real climate, economic and public health impacts--recognized by the EPA-- of Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

David Solnit, a member of the Keystone XL Action Council, stated “Concerned citizens agree that high-tech leaders such as Zuckerberg and all members of should be advocating for clean, 21st century energy technology, and moving the United States away from climate disrupting fossil fuel dependence.”

The policy of supporting dirty and dangerous fossil fuels like the Keystone XL pipeline has already resulted in two prominent Silicon Valley executives, Elon Musk of Tesla Motors and David Sacks, the founder of Yammer and former Chief Operating Officer of PayPal, to resign from the political action committee.

Additional Background:

The Facebook Shareholders’ meeting demonstration and civil disobedience are the third in a series of recent actions that call out Zuckerberg and his controversial political action for funding a series of television ads supporting the controversial Keystone pipeline and opening up the Arctic refuge to oil and gas exploration.

Organizers are now planning a large demonstration which has been set for Saturday, August 3rd, at the Chevron refinery in Richmond California.  Recent press reports have indicated one or more of the five area refineries is currently refining a small amount of tar-sands and may become a destination for refining major quantities of the toxic tar sands if the proposal to build the Keystone XL pipeline to Texas refineries is defeated.

Additional information and background can be found online at:

Mark Zuckerberg and other corporate tech millionaires are bankrolling the lobbying group that, while pushing for high tech worker immigration reform, is buying TV ads in support of Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in an effort to buy votes from the congressmen featured in the ads. Two prominent Silicon Valley executives have already quit after protests from climate and environmental groups.

Fellow tech executive Josh Miller, chief of Twitter chat system Branch, called Zuckerberg out, "' lobbying strategy, though pitched as “pragmatic” and “smart” by Beltway insiders, is typically only practiced by large pharmaceutical companies, gun manufacturers, and the like. It works like this: You approach key representatives who are on the fence about voting for comprehensive legislative reform and finance advertisements that portray their stance on any other issue of their choosing. In other words, effectively bribes politicians by saying, "Vote with us on this controversial issue, and we'll remind your constituents why you're great on some other issue they care about — any issue." Thus, the Keystone XL debacle was not an accident — it's the strategy."

Message to Mark Zuckerberg:

Initiated by the Keystone XL Action Council, cosponsored by Bay Area  

Here is the letter we sent to Mr. Zuckerberg and other key leaders of in the lead up to June 11 Facebook Shareholder Meeting:

May 30, 2013

To: Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook
John Doerr, General Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft and Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Reed Hastings, Founder and CEO of Netflix
Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of LinkedIn
Drew Houston, Founder and CEO of Dropbox
Marissa Mayer, Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of Yahoo!
Mark Pincus, Founder, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Product Officer of Zynga

Re: Call for Members and Supporters of to Stop Keystone XL Propaganda Ads
Dear Founding Members and Supporters of
We urge you and other members of to repudiate propaganda ads supporting the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling in the Arctic Refuge by resigning from that organization.
As you know, two of Founding Members -- Tesla Motors’ co-founder Elon Musk, and David Sacks, Founder of Yammer -- have already dropped their affiliation with due to their ads promoting dirty and greenhouse gas producing fossil fuels. As leaders in the technology field, you should be promoting clean, renewable 21st century technologies, not the dirty fossil fuels of the 19th century.
Over 98% of climatologists worldwide believe that Climate Change is real, is largely man made, and will cause disastrous effects on the planet including sea level rise, droughts, wildfires, and increasingly severe storms. The Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands projects poison our air, water and climate -- what former NASA scientist James Hansen calls "Game Over" for the climate." has undertaken a dangerously misguided attempt to win support for immigration reform by “bribing” politicians sitting on the fence and bankrolling two subsidiary organizations to purchase TV ads to advance their agenda. One of’ groups -- Americans for a Conservative Direction -- is being run by veteran Republican political operatives and has created an ad in support of Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) which praises him for supporting construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and expanded drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The ad, which does not mention immigration policy, also attacks Obamacare, “wasteful stimulus spending,” and “seedy Chicago-style politics.”
As Founding Members and Supporters of, we call on you to immediately instruct to:
• Refrain from funding any more pro-fossil fuel industry Keystone XL Pipeline and tar sands extraction development ads.
• Commit the same amount of money already spent on funding these pro-fossil fuel ads in now supporting public education about the very real effects of climate change, its economic impact and the related public health implications, already recognized by the EPA and most science experts, of building the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and tar sands extraction.

A better world is possible,

Keystone Action Council/

The Bay Area 350 No Tar Sands Campaign focuses on local activism in support of the movement. We bring to public attention the dangers of the Tar Sands Oil and the Keystone XL Pipeline. We support the ongoing Tar Sands Blockade and encourage participation.  We will work to prevent the refining of this Tar Sands-based oil in the refineries of the East Bay.

In addition to mobilizing for non-violent civil disobedience as part of the call for "Summer Heat", we are also developing work, in conjunction with others, to block Bay Area refineries from refining tar sands oil, or any dirty crude, whether it comes from Canada or the Monterey Shales.  Not a small task. 

We are starting a Speaker's Bureau, in order to broaden our base of support through people-to-people, face-to-face outreach about the climate crisis. We hope to motivate, prepare and organize ourselves to speak to gatherings of people, conduct active discussions, table and leaflet at various venues, and activate more people's involvement, employing techniques ranging from street theatre to one-on one conversation.  If you are interested in working with us, please call Laurie at 510-548-3852 to discuss.  Hope to hear from you! 


Earth Day Idle No More part 1: At the EPA w/ Rev Billy, Penny, Scott & Jasenya

Earth Day Idle No More part 2: At the State Dept. 22 April 2013



Zuckerberg's advocacy ads under fire Seeking immigration reform, Facebook founder is alienating some progressives by touting conservatives.

Groups protest Zuckerberg's support for Keystone pipeline

Facebook's Zuckerberg Angers Enviros With Keystone XL Pipeline Ads social-engagement group funding controversial ads 

Protestors Want Zuckerberg Out of Keystone XL Pipeline Debate

Congratulations and cheers to all who took part in or worked on our Teach-in/ Training in NVCD SF Event: Next Step to Stop Keystone XL Preparation for NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION on SAT MARCH 23

It was a wonderful success! We estimate somewhere between 250 - 300 people took part and many signed up with one of the Affinity Groups that are now forming. About 20 signed up for the No Tar Sands Team and our Affinity Group.

Event Pix: 1  2  3  4  5

Buzzfeed says that there is an "Army of 50,000 People Ready For Arrest If Obama OKs Keystone"  !!

Come be a part of history in the making!  


Read & Sign The No Tar Sands in the Bay Area Petition

Featured Photo Journalist:

Garth Lenz 

Photographer Garth Lenz has documented the evidence of the devastation caused by Tar Sands mining:


See Garth's TED Talk

- Tar Sands oil is killing and polluting Alberta's Boreal forest, through its refining and shipping through highly pressurized and corrosive piping.
- Those who have been to Texas inform us that the blockade is heating up, with more participants engaging in more urgent tactics, facing increasing repression and penalties.

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