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Demonstrators hold up signs in front of the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 2, 2011, to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline project in the US, and the Tar Sands Development in Alberta Canada. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Let's tell President Barack Obama, "Yes, you can say 'no' to tar sand oil."

On Sept. 8, Obama said: "But what we can't do -- what I won't do -- is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades. I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety."

That is very interesting because it seems the president let us down on protection of our health and safety when he postponed implementation of regulatory limits on ozone pollution.

That decision will sentence more than 3,000 of us to death each year that the ozone level set by the previous administration remains in effect.

It is ironic that we mourn the tragic deaths of nearly 3,000 people in the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001. Not to diminish those lost souls, but the terror of not being able to breathe and being eaten away by cancer should be right up there with 9/11. I have friends and relatives who died of cancer -- as most of us have -- and you and I know they suffered longer.

The president does the best he can given the economy, wars, financial institutions and Congress that he inherited. I don't envy him at all.

But, I celebrate that Obama now has an opportunity to make a decision that he alone can make without being hindered by a stalemated Congress.


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I believe so firmly that the opportunity is right for the president to establish his legacy of protecting our health and welfare -- not just us, but the world -- that I went to Washington, D.C., to show my support for his veto of an oil pipeline that, if built, would mean "game over for the climate," to quote NASA climatologist Dr. James Hansen.

More than 1,250 people of all ages and walks of life, from every state in the union, came together two weeks ending Sept. 3 to send Obama a message: "Use the power of your office to stop the proposed 1,700 mile Keystone XL tar sand oil pipeline. Your unique ability to stop it with the stroke of a pen would be a symbolic gesture that could galvanize the mass movement needed to bring global solutions to climate change."

The devastating effects of excavating more than 50,000 square miles of Canadian Boreal forest include toxic sand waste, polluted waste water, and worse-than-coal heavy high-carbon footprint that gives a Prius the footprint of a SUV.

I couldn't not go to D.C. and protest -- and for the first time ever, get arrested. This is one issue that cannot be ignored.

That was just the start of the current movement to let the president know that we support his taking bold action and take a truly historic step in shifting climate issues from political to moral ground.

Please join me in calling 202-456-1111, and by putting pen to paper. It is so simple to send a message to the president saying: "I support your veto of the Keystone XL tar sand oil pipeline."

Doug Grandt has lived in Hayward 12 years. He educates interested groups of people on the science of climate change and how individuals can be effective at helping to reduce our individual and collective carbon footprint.