On Sunday afternoon Washington D.C. saw a remarkably large turnout for a protest against the planned Keystone XL Pipeline. The pipeline would carry crude oil from the tar sands of northern Alberta to a refinery in Texas. President Obama was expected to make a decision on the pipeline by December of 2011.
However, it is becoming apparent that any decision by the president to go forward with the pipeline will be perceived as poke in the eye by important constituencies of the Democratic Party. Obama sided against environmentalists on smog regulation in September. In order to understand the depth of outrage environmentalists feel about the planned pipeline, it helps to consider the issue within the context of the overall track record of the Obama administration on climate change and environmental issues. There is growing speculation that Obama will delay disappointing environmentalists until after the 2012 election.
Little noted in the mainstream media, twelve hundred pipeline protesters were arrested outside the White House over the course of two weeks in early September. Although there were no arrests Sunday, attendance far exceeded that of any previous demonstration against the pipeline.
The recent protest got some mainstream media coverage. Wikipedia has background on Keystone XL Pipeline controversy.