A crowd that organizers tallied at 35,000 marched on the White House today to pressure President Obama into nixing the Keystone XL oil pipeline, reports The Hill. The environmental activists came together in the National Mall and heard speeches before heading to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. "They’ve got the lobbyists. They’ve got the super-PACs," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse told them. "And then we show up. And we change the game."
But major forces are pushing Obama toward approving the pipeline of fossil fuels to the Gulf Coast from tar sand fields in Canada, The Hill notes. Oil-and-gas groups, the Canadian government, and union groups have all approved Keystone; rejecting it would leave Obama open to Republican criticisms of failing on energy security. But activists are calling it a litmus test on Obama's promise to address climate change. "His heart is there," says former Obama adviser Van Jones. "The question is can we change the politics enough so he can do what he knows is right." (Nebraska has approved the pipeline, and the head of the EPA has quit over it.)