WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will be met on a fundraising trip to San Francisco next month by hundreds of activists urging him to reject a permit for the Keystone XL, the controversial oil pipeline that's taken center stage in the fight to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Progressive group CREDO Action, organizing the demonstration with environmental advocacy groups 350.org and the Sierra Club, estimated 1,000 protesters will turn up at the president's San Francisco fundraising visit on April 3. Already, more than 600 people have pledged to come out, according to CREDO political director Becky Bond.
"This is it," Bond told HuffPost Wednesday night. "The president says he wants to take meaningful action on climate change and this is the first and biggest decision he's going to make. ... We've produced more public comments and more phone calls to the White House, but we're skeptical that president is going to listen to those comments and we know they're not going to listen to the scientists."
Obama's fundraising events, to benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, include a $5,000-a-head cocktail hour at the home of Kat Taylor and hedge fund manager turned environmental activist Tom Steyer, as well as a $32,500-a head dinner at home of of Ann and Gordon Getty, according to SFGate.
Environmentalists have said the pipeline threatens the global climate and the environment along the 1,700-mile route from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to oil refineries in Texas. But in its latest assessment of the project, the State Department -- which has purview over the pipeline's permitting process because the project crosses an international border -- downplayed environmental consequences.
CREDO recently launched a campaign in which more than 50,000 Americans pledged to engage in civil disobedience if Obama approves the oil pipeline. Many of them were at the climate rally in Washington last month, which drew 40,000 protesters from across the U.S. in what was billed as the largest climate rally ever. CREDO'S pledge asks signatories to "engage in serious, dignified, peaceful civil disobedience that could get you arrested," should it be necessary to stop the construction of the Keystone XL.
The State Department is now accepting public comments on the pipeline. After that, it will advise Obama whether to move forward with the pipeline.
"We are going to confront the president wherever he goes," said Bond. The fundraiser in San Francisco, Bond added, is "one of the few times where he's speaking to people who don't work for the White House and don't work in DC. This is our chance to deliver a strong message."