Environmentalists are reeling today after President Obama backed away from a plan to enact stricter ozone pollution standards on Friday. And this, only days after the State Department gave preliminary support to a pipeline slated to carry tar sands oil to the Gulf Coast from Canada. "There is shock and chaos here," said a director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, "so I do not know" how the environmental movement will wage political battles against a president it once deemed a staunch ally, the New York Times reports.
No, green advocates won't side with Republicans instead—their aggressive anti-environmentalist action in the House and rhetoric on the campaign trail ensure that. But Obama could face subtler problems. Volunteer enthusiasm may wane, and, says one green advocate, the "emerging narrative that he is caving too quickly to Republican pressure" could grow. Another advocate admits greenies may need to fight harder, pile "the pressure on," and realize "playing nicey-nice won’t work."