SHORTLY AFTER the district court decision in the pipeline case, I sat down to lunch with my friend Ralph Siu and turned the subject to the case. I was full of our success and outraged by the oil companies’ cavalier indifference to the environment. Ralph’s calm offset my enthusiasm.

“It’s important to plan your strategy with full regard for the long term,” he said. “Your action was especially significant because you averted an action that could have had disastrous impact for generations. On the other hand, our country has an insatiable appetite for oil. Over time, that demand is going to drive resource decisions, and real progress will have to address that problem. The corporations will do what is necessary to ...

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