By Lisa Desjardins, CNN
Follow on Twitter: @LisaDCNN
Editor's Note: Listen to the full story of the fight over the Keystone Pipeline, including specifics on the current pipeline proposal, in the player above.
(CNN) – Guns. Immigration. The budget. Sure. All hot issues at the moment.
But those watching Washington closely see what may be an even more intense scramble behind-the-scenes: the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline.
President Obama alone has the power to approve or reject the application for the Keystone XL pipeline. The proposal would build a 36-inch diameter oil superhighway from Canada to the southern edge of Nebraska.
The project has had an application in since last spring, but recently the president has said he will decide its fate “soon”.
Cue an intense and not necessarily intuitive fight in Washington.
Take Brad Wall, the premier of Saskatchewan, who recently flew to DC to make an environmental case for the pipeline.
“I think that’s part of the message. I think that’s maybe how we can help give the administration some environmental elbow room to know that we do care about the issue.”
On the other side sits a highly-charged and laptop-supplied coalition of environmentalists, like Jason Kowalski, policy director of 350.org.
“We see this as opportunity to draw an line and say you cannot be a Democrat in this country and be in favor of the keystone pipeline, and get the support of the climate movement. We are going to mobilize in large numbers against you.”
This is a careful and intense push behind-the-scenes to pressure and influence the president. Pro-pipeline members of Congress have indicated they could try to pass a law overriding the president should he rule against them, and a side skirmish is evolving on Capitol Hill.
But for now, the main battle, perhaps little seen by most Americans, is focused on energy, the environment and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.