Pipeline foes press Congress with upcoming protest

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“Big Oil is trying to buy Congress to force approval of Keystone XL,” a Web page about the demonstration states. “On Monday January 23rd, we're blowing the whistle on Big Oil corruption in Congress. We'll be gathering at the Capital dressed in referee uniforms (yep, stripes and all), and then heading to the American Petroleum Institute — Big Oil's top lobby — to do the same.”

The focus on Congress tracks the recent shifts in the political wrangling over TransCanada Corp.’s proposed pipeline.

Green groups staged a pair of high-profile demonstrations at the White House last year urging Obama to reject TransCanada Corp.'s pipeline, which has been under State Department review for several years. 

The Obama administration in November handed green groups a partial win by delaying a decision on the project until after the 2012 elections.

Congress, however, included a GOP-backed provision in the December payroll tax cut deal that forces a decision by Feb. 21 — a timeline that administration officials, alleging inadequate review time, say will likely prompt the project’s rejection.

Green groups are keeping pressure on the White House to nix Keystone.

But the Capitol Hill focus of the Jan. 23 demonstration and other activist messaging (evident here and here) comes as GOP lawmakers are planning a prolonged effort to pressure Obama on Keystone if he rejects the project in February.