This past Monday, a funeral procession over 100 strong trudged solemnly towards TransCanada's offices in Westborough, MA. Dressed in black and carrying paper flowers, the mourners sang a chilling dirge.
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.
On top of its looming decision on the Keystone XL, it's likely that the Obama administration will make a final decision on whether or not to greenlight shale gas exports sometime in 2013. The policy agenda is about to heat up in the energy and environment policy arenas inside the Beltway.
The media likes to make Keystone XL out as simply a political test, a sign of whether or not the president will side with environmentalists or the fossil fuel industry and their allies. But the fight against Keystone has never just been a political fight: it's a planetary one.
Will the oil curse become as familiar on this continent in the wake of a new American energy rush as it is in Africa and elsewhere? Will North America, that is, become not just the next boom continent for energy bonanzas, but a new energy Third World?
A year ago almost no one had heard of the pipeline. Even four months ago, a poll of 300 "energy insiders" still found 97 percent predicting it would get its permit. But it didn't -- TransCanada can of course re-apply, but that will be another battle, down the road.
The Keystone XL oil pipeline is emblematic of a lot that we've learned about the Koch brothers. Whenever possible, the brothers try operating in the shadows and attacking the truth so that they can get richer in secret.
Based on TransCanada's own figures provided to the Canadian government, operating costs for the U.S. section of their pipeline are minimal, and new permanent American jobs created would likely be as few as 50.