This week, President Obama will find hundreds more people in front of the White House – us included – willing to go to jail for peacefully protesting the President’s short-sighted decision to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama’s decision on this enormous fossil fuel project will not be a quiet deal with oil industry lobbyists; it will be witnessed by millions of voters who had hoped that President Obama would have the vision to get America off of oil with a moonshot program for oil-free cars by the next decade. Instead, oil profits have been pitted against the world that our children will live in, hooking America to some of the highest polluting oil without moving America quickly to a foreign oil-free future.
For many Americans, Obama’s promise to begin to move the United States away from its growing dependence on fossil fuels and address global warming was foremost among his promise of change. For many more, it was Obama’s assurance that his Presidency would change a political system dominated by lobbyists and their narrow interests, instead of the public interest. President Obama’s commitment on both of these promises – to the volunteers who knocked on doors, the young voters who elected him, and the country he leads – will be tested by his decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.