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Policy: Environment & Energy

Environmental groups threaten to stage protests at offices of pro-Obama organization

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Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Environment,Barack Obama,Energy Department,Analysis,Keystone XL,Energy and Environment

Activist groups CREDO, Rainforest Action Network and the Other 98% claimed Friday to have gotten 69,000 people to sign up for “civil disobedience training” events in 25 cities as part of an effort to fight the proposed US-Canada Keystone XL pipeline project. Chief among the groups they will be targeting for protests is Organizing for Action, the pro-President Obama activist group.

Environmentalists are bracing for an upcoming State Department report that is expected to signal whether the administration will, at long last, endorse the pipeline project. In a speech last month at Georgetown University, Obama gave himself a lot of wiggle room, saying it could be approved if the report shows it “ does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” (Emphasis added.) The State Department’s most recent study indicated the answer to Obama’s question was no, it won’t make a difference.

The three groups promise that in the two weeks following the release of the report, they will begin sit-ins and similar acts of non-violent resistance. The “locations [will] include Organizing for Action offices, State Department offices, Canadian embassies, TransCanada offices, ERM offices [the oil industry contractor writing the State Department evaluation of KXL], and TD Bank retail branches [a major investor in Keystone XL and tar sands development],” they said in a statement emailed to reporters.

Organizing for Action is the nonprofit group that originated as the campaign organization Obama for America. It claims to “nonpartisan and independent” despite maintaining close ties to White House and explicitly stating that its mission is to promote Obama’s agenda.

OFA has conspicuously avoided taking a stance on the Keystone XL project — a fact that many environmental groups have taken as a sign the White House is leaning towards approving it. Many liberal activists have grown sharply critical of OFA as a result. Threatening to stage protests at OFA’s offices shows the depth of that frustration.

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