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NEWS: Harper now says Obama ‘noncommittal’ on Keystone XL pipeline

More than 6,000 people have registered to #Surround the White House tomorrow.

Postmedia News reports, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday he’s not worried that US President Barack Obama has suddenly grown cold on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. …For months, Harper has been lobbying the Obama administration to approve the (pipeline)… The US government had been indicating that a decision would come by the end of this year. But proponents of the project grew alarmed when Obama spoke about the pipeline earlier this week (highlighting the need to protect the Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska) and the US State Department said there was no guarantee (now that) a decision would come this year.”

Postmedia has also reported, “Under a quirk of the U.S. electoral college system, Obama’s chances of re-election could be affected by how conservative Nebraska – where opposition to the pipeline is most intense – votes in 2012. …(Nebraska has a) state law that awards one electoral college vote to the popular vote winner in each of its three congressional districts. In 2008, Obama lost by a wide margin in Nebraska to Republican John McCain. But he was awarded a single Nebraska electoral vote by beating McCain in Nebraska’s second congressional district, which encompasses the Omaha metropolitan area. Heading into a 2012 presidential election that even the most optimistic Democrat expects to be close, Obama’s campaign is looking for every electoral college vote within reach.”

At the G20 summit in Cannes, Harper said, “I read the president’s comments. I thought on balance they were noncommittal and he indicated he had yet to make a decision. We respect that. …President Obama has to make a decision, but I think…the project is absolutely in the interests of both of our countries.” This is in sharp contrast to Harper’s comment on September 21 when he said that the decision to approve the pipeline should be “a complete no-brainer” for the US.

The Council of Canadians is in Washington, DC this weekend to participate in a massive #Surround action against Keystone XL at the White House. Bill McKibben writes, “There are places you can’t really occupy, and one of them is the grounds of the White House. …So when you can’t #Occupy, maybe the next best alternative is #Surround. …(On) Sunday we’ll be circling the White House with people — a kind of ring-around-Obama designed to remind him that he has serious support for blocking the Keystone Pipeline. …Depending on your mood, it will look either like a big O-shaped hug for a guy who’s had a hard time from Congress and now with this pipeline decision can finally do the right thing all by himself — or like a kind of symbolic house arrest for the guy who’s already opened the Arctic to oil drilling and is now poised to bust the carbon ceiling wide open with tar sands oil. For most of us, torn between hope and fear, it’s probably a little bit of both.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow will be speaking at the rally in Lafayette Park – directly across from the White House – immediately following the action.

Yesterday, Fred Wilson wrote on rabble.ca, “As thousands get ready for a big last push on President Obama against the XL Pipeline in Washington DC this weekend, decision makers should remember Elvis Presley’s sage advice: ‘When things go wrong, don’t go with them.’ If, or when, XL goes down, how many politicians, businessmen and labour leaders will get pulled under with it? By any measure, TransCanada Pipeline’s Keystone XL project has gone horribly wrong. This $7 Billion project was supposed to have been under construction seven months ago. It has yet to receive critical US state approvals, and the once expected pro-forma approval from the White House is now very much in question.” To read his full blog, go to http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/fwilson/2011/11/xl-pipeline-dog-can%E2%80%99t-hunt.