President Donald Trump signed two executive orders today that would allow construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
The Keystone XL pipeline was denied by the Obama administration in 2015 after huge backlash from environmentalists. The company behind the project, TransCanada, responded by suing the U.S. under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
In 2004, former president George W. Bush signed an executive order requiring all pipelines crossing international borders to undergo an inter-agency review led by the State Department. The Trump administration may alter this in order to move forward with Keystone XL with less red tape.
If completed, the Keystone XL pipeline would carry oil from the tar sands of Canada’s Alberta province to Texas.
Controversy has surrounded the Dakota Access pipeline since protests started back in April 2016. Last month the Army Corps of Engineers denied the permit required to complete the project, but the owners of the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, insisted they would complete the pipeline no matter what.
Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, responded to the order:
“President Trump is legally required to honor our treaty rights and provide a fair and reasonable pipeline process. Americans know this pipeline was unfairly rerouted towards our nation and without our consent. The existing pipeline route risks infringing on our treaty rights, contaminating our water and the water of 17 million Americans downstream.”
Last week a U.S. District Court Judge, James Boesberg, denied DAPL attorneys’ attempt to stop the Army Corp from completing an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the current proposed route.
It was revealed last year that President Trump owned stock in Energy Transfer Partners. A spokeswoman for Trump claims that he has since sold his stake in the company, though no evidence has been presented to prove this.
Although the Trump administration claims that greenlighting new pipelines will create energy security for Americans, both pipeline’s oil will most likely be exported. Think Progress reported in 2011 the oil from Keystone XL is earmarked for export, and Energy Transfer Partners has thus far declined to say whether the oil from Dakota Access would be used for domestic use.
As Bill KcKibben of 350.org stated, “More people sent comments against Dakota Access and Keystone XL to the government than any project in history. The world’s climate scientists and its Nobel laureates explained over and over why it was unwise and immoral. In one of his first actions as president, Donald Trump ignores all that in his eagerness to serve the oil industry.”
Tell the Trump administration to stop big oil from completing the Dakota Access pipeline:
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