On the campaign trail and in the media, environmentalists are protesting President Obama's nearly-finalized plan allowing TransCanada to construct a $7 billion pipeline that cuts through the Midwest. The activists put President Obama in a difficult position as he responds to them while fending off Republican critics who are hammering him on the federal government's "job-killing" regulations. On Monday, his campaign's hire of Broderick Johnson, a former lobbyist of TransCanada, has pushed a number of environmentalists over the edge. Here's how different groups are responding.
- Taking it to the White House On Nov. 6, the Natural Resources Defense Council is leading a protest in front of the White House to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. The demonstrations follow two-week long demonstrations staged earlier this fall outside the White House in which more than 1,200 participants were arrested. Rallying supporters in a blog post yesterday NRDC's Frances Beinecke said "This is our chance to speak for the public interest. We can combat the influence of polluters by gathering together, raising our voices, and letting the administration see our opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline."
- Ambush in San Francisco Today, the president is traveling to San Francisco and will be met by hundreds of protesters belonging to the liberal group CREDO Action who oppose the Keystone XL pipeline's construction. The organizer of the protest, Elijah Zarlin is a former Obama staffer, who worked on his new-media staff in 2008. Zarlin tells USA Today "What's disappointing is that this is a guy who seemed like he had the ability to explain complicated issues to people,"
- Ad blitz Tar Sands Action, an environmental outfit opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, is preparing a major ad blitz, reports Talking Points Memo. "The ads, which call on the president to stop development of the pipeline, will appear in the print editions of the New York Times and Washington Post as well as at online media outlets such as CNN.com and ForeignPolicy.com." The ads will appear ahead of a November 6 protest in DC. Punctuating the forthcoming ads, Bill McKibben, who is organizing a protest, says his presidency is at a "crossroads." "“The Keystone XL pipeline was pushed through by the worst kind of political cronyism, exactly the kind of thing President Obama promised to stamp out in Washington. The American people deserve better.”
- Splinter groups As USA Today notes, a coalition of environmental groups in different areas of the country are rallying around the pipeline. "On Sunday, more than 400 young activists organized by the Energy Action Coalition protested in front of the Obama campaign office in Cleveland." The NRDC and two other environmental groups commission a poll by Public Policy Polling showing "70% of Americans disapproved of Obama's stance on smog. The decision was particularly unpopular with women in the swing states of Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, said Heather Taylor-Miesle, director of the NRDC Action Fund."
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