This December President Obama will face the most important test of his environmentalist credentials before the next election when he decides whether to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The pipeline was the subject of the largest environmental protest in decades when 1,253 people were arrested over two weeks of sit-ins led by the Tar Sands Action at the White House. Many of those arrested were once volunteers on the Obama campaign upset about the president's failure to live up to the high hopes he set for changing the country's environmental policies.
Since the protest ended, there have been protests at Obama appearances in Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina, with more planned at future campaign stops. The Tar Sands Action is also now leading actions at Organizing for America offices across the country, and plans are in the works for another historic rally on November 6th, one year from the next election. The action also inspired 9 Nobel Laureates, including the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to call on the President to embrace the protestors and reject the pipeline.
Of course, all of this organizing has inspired pushback from the oil industry as well, with TransCanada, the pipeline's builder, on pace to spend 1.4 million dollars on lobbying this year after hiring top Obama and Clinton 2008 campaign staff to lead their efforts. With the oil industry and their supporters lining up, a new infographic from Heather Libby (tcktcktck.org) and Duncan Meisel (TarSandsAction) just released asks the question: Which side is President Obama on in the Keystone XL showdown?
Find out more about the growing protests against the Keystone XL pipeline at tarsandsaction.org.