There's been a lot of talk lately by liberal interests about threatening to withold funds or support from Obama's campaign should he not come out stronger against entitlement reform, environmental regulation, or the tax code. Unfortunately, many of these things are legislative items largely outside of his power to influence, particularly with such partisan opposition in the Republican-dominated House. Even environmental regulations are difficult to pass with the sustained conservative attack on the EPA. However, Obama has all the power in the world to shut down the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Because the pipeline crosses our international border with Canada, Transcanada must have a Presidential Permit to build it. Without that, the pipeline is dead in the water. "This is a clear test for the President," Henn wrote in his letter to Messina, "will he stand with Big Oil or will he stand with us, the millions of Americans that cheered his promise to 'end the tyranny of oil' and heal our planet?"
It will take a popular movement to convince President Obama to forego the usual gentleman's agreement with oil companies, and to refuse to sign the permit necessary for TransCanada to build. The Canadian oil giant has been aggressively campaigning in the states to build popular support; but the opposition has been just as strong. In fact, TransCanada's unrelenting campaign of misinformation has been fairly effectively turned aside in the media wars waging over the pipeline. The reality is that tar sands oil is so corrosive that the pipeline is virtually guaranteed to leak, and leak often. Furthermore, the domestic jobs to which they refer, appealing to our continued calls for job growth, to are almost entirely temporary contractors, not permanent jobs. The U.S. is not willing to trade some temporary job creation, likely lasting only months, for a permanent blight upon our pristine plains, and a consistent threat to natural resources and multi-generation farmers that already inhabit those lands. By taking this message to the President, Henn and thousands of others may avert a short-sighted, profit-motivated disaster.