If you've noticed the rhetoric about the Keystone pipeline heating up lately, it's because the folks at the American Petroleum Institute are getting nervous. Fighting a four-year PR battle against the reality of climate change isn't easy, so API brought in the big guns.
Despite the fact that ExxonMobil is still a significant contrarian funder, the flurry of media interest in the company's funding agenda sparked by UCS's exposé died down soon after its release and remains feeble to this day. What happened?
In other words, the gas industry isn't joking about its desires to export shale gas to the global market, despite paying homage to the necessity to frack for "national security" and domestic energy purposes.
Keystone XL isn't just a test of whether Obama can live up to his own rhetoric, it's a test of whether he can live up to the movement that helped elect him. This is a time for him to dig deep, summon up some courage, stand up to Big Oil.
Part of the oil industry clearly wants to return to the era when secrecy was acceptable, when companies and governments kept details of their transactions to themselves. Big oil companies are increasingly isolated in this approach.
Oil companies have a secret. Or rather, there's a crucial fact that they'd prefer you didn't know. Right now it's taken as gospel that America needs increasing amounts of oil, and that drilling here in the U.S. will help provide it.
Isn't it better to support a growing base of clean, renewable energy businesses in North Carolina than support drilling off the beaches of the Outer Banks and southern barrier islands? Remember: More drilling doesn't mean lower gas prices - it means more profits for oil companies.
Now is the time to hold energy companies accountable for the pollution they create. For far too long, they have run roughshod over the health and well being of American communities and ordinary people are paying the price.