Obama’s Keystone Silence Is Driving Green-Activists Away - Businessweek
Wendy Abrams’ opportunity came in the photo line. As she stepped up to take her picture with President Barack Obama during a fundraiser last month in Chicago, she made her pitch: How could a president who vowed to tackle climate change possibly approve the Keystone XL pipeline?About Organizing for Action — Barack Obama
Obama, she recalled, told her that environmental activists are too focused on the $5.3 billion Keystone project and promised she’d be pleased with his proposals on climate change later this summer.
“I was really depressed,” Abrams, who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Obama and the Democrats, said in a telephone interview. “People who had hoped he would do really great things walk away feeling that he’s not standing up against the fossil fuel industry.”
The Obama world’s split on Keystone is so deep that it even divides White House aides who’ve left the administration.
Formers deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton, deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, White House special assistant Jim Papa, and Obama fundraiser Paul Tewes are all working as consultants for opponents of the project, including the League of Conservation Voters.
Last month, they wrote him a letter, saying his decision on Keystone “holds a comparable urgency and importance” to President Abraham Lincoln’s move to end slavery.
Robinson and his wife, Sherrill Berger, have hosted two local OFA meetings focused on climate change issues at their solar-panel-powered rowhouse in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Washington. Both were publicized in the events section of the OFA website. Frishberg said [OFA--Organizing for Action, the policy group born out of Obama’s re-election campaign] will use its extensive e-mail list to promote official climate action planning sessions across the country scheduled for June 19.
One Wednesday evening this month, Robinson and Berger set up chairs in a semi-circle, laid out plates of cookies and other nibbles and waited. No one came. When a reporter knocked on their door an hour after the meeting was to start, they shared their frustrations about OFA.
Organizing for Action
Statement of Purpose
Organizing for Action is a nonprofit organization established to support President Obama in achieving enactment of the national agenda Americans voted for on Election Day 2012. OFA will advocate for these policies throughout the country and will mobilize citizens of all parties and diverse points to speak out for speedy passage and effective implementation of this program, including gun violence prevention, sensible environmental policies to address climate change and immigration reform. In addition, OFA will encourage the formation of chapters that will be dedicated at the grassroots level to this program, but also committed to identifying and working progressive change on a range of issues at the state and local level. In carrying its work, OFA will operate as a "social welfare" organization within the meaning of section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.