Authorizing construction of Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline fulfills a campaign promise – to the chagrin of environmentalists and residents along the routes of both projects.
Trump told reporters “(w)e are going to renegotiate some of the terms. We will build our own pipelines (and) pipes. We’re going to make the process much more simple for the oil companies and everybody else that wants to do business in the United States.”
On Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said both projects will “increase jobs, increase economic growth, and tap into America’s energy supply more.”
Battle lines are drawn. Activists, environmental groups and Native Americans vowed to resist. Union bosses support both projects.
TransCanada, the company involved in Keystone XL construction earlier, withdrew its building request because of enormous opposition to the controversial project. It hasn’t so far yet reapplied for permission to build.
Late last year, the Army Corps of Engineers declined to authorize construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline beneath Lake Oahe – after months of protests by affected Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members and thousands of supporters – wanting sacred ancestral land and water protected.
Army Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said “(a)lthough we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do.”
Alternative routes for the project need to be explored, she explained. Trump’s authorization changes things. Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune called his decision “dangerous.”
“The Keystone pipeline was rejected because it was not in the country’s interest, and the environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline was ordered because of the threats it poses to the Standing Rock Sioux. Nothing has changed. These pipelines were a bad idea then and they’re a bad idea now,” he stressed.
Environmental group 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben issued a statement, saying “(m)ore 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. It’s a dark day for reason, but we will continue the fight.
This is not a done deal. The last time around, TransCanada was so confident they literally mowed the strip where they planned to build the pipeline, before people power stopped them. People will mobilize again.
Jobs creation is a vital national priority – but not at the expense of ecosanity. Oil and gas pipelines have a deplorable history of causing major environmental damage to land, waterways and human health.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.