Trump quickly moves to allow Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines
President Trump wasted no time backtracking many of Obama’s directives during his first few days in office as promised. Among them was Obama’s rejection of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline put on hold. On Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order for the government to move forward on both controversial oil pipelines, worrying all the environmental activists and Native Americans who fought long and hard to stop them.
The Keystone Pipeline would move 800,000 barrels of oil a day from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast. Those for it claim it will create jobs, while those against it argue that it’s extremely dangerous for the environment. After stalling for a while, Obama rejected the proposal before the Paris climate change conference in December 2015.
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) became the center of huge protests started by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opposing the pipeline running near its reservation, creating the possibility of tainting the tribe’s water supply should the pipeline leak. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied an easement for the pipeline to cross Lake Oahe in December, further delaying construction. Protesters celebrated the small victory, but knew it wasn’t the end, and today Trump proved them right.
After signing the executive order, Trump ignored a reporter’s question about those protesting the DAPL. “Mr. Trump, any comment to the Standing Rock community and the protesters out there?” a reporter in the Oval Office asked. CNBC reports that Trump pursed his lips and looked away. According to Reuters, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe plans to take legal action against the president, as a lawyer representing the tribe said Trump’s actions were made “hastily and irresponsibly.”
Trump claimed Tuesday that the Keystone XL would create 28,000 jobs, but a 2014 U.S. State Department environmental study said the project would create 3,900 construction jobs and 35 permanent jobs, Reuters reports. Of course, it isn’t unlike Trump to blatantly lie about numbers or use what his administration now calls “alternative facts,” so this isn’t surprising in the least.
It’s also important to remember that Trump owned stock in Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company building the DAPL, through at least mid-2016 and ETP’s chief executive, Kelcy Warren, donated to his campaign. He reportedly sold his stake in the company before taking office, but his previous ties still raise questions.