This morning, President Donald Trump signed executive orders that will potentially allow the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines to resume and continue their construction, according to The Washington Post. He made no comment on the legality of said pipelines or their potential environmental impacts, but both will be “subject to renegotiation.” Basically, the pipelines will get another chance at approval.
Signing orders to move forward with the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines in the Oval Office. pic.twitter.com/OErGmbBvYK
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2017
Along with these directives, Trump signed two more propositions that will make it necessary for pipeline materials to be sourced and built in the United States, as well as a mandate for regulatory policies regarding projects with environmental impacts to be lessened.
These moves by Trump and his administration come after former President Barack Obama called for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to stop in November of 2015 because of the severe negative impact it would have on the environment. As for the Dakota Access Pipeline, construction stopped last December after months of massive protests, while the Army Corps of Engineers (responsible for the construction of the pipeline) looked for alternative routes.
Both the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines function to transport crude oil—from Western Canada to Illinois, Texas and Oklahoma, and from North Dakota to Illinois, respectively. Aside from the environmental damage these pipelines could cause, the Dakota Access Pipeline drew national attention for its apparent disregard for Native American history and safety at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
Trump and his team maintain that his revitalization of the pipeline projects will contribute to U.S. economic growth by opening up new job opportunities and “[tapping] into America’s energy supply more," Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday, according to the Post. Alternative forms of fuel and energy are not hip among members of GOP, FYI.
A number of environmentalists have already come out saying they intend to protest Trump’s orders, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has already released their statement. Former Vice President Al Gore himself called the Dakota Access Pipeline "an atrocity" in an interview with Democracy Now! on Monday.
— Standing Rock Sioux (@StandingRockST) January 24, 2017
As we know, the fight for justice (environmental, racial, reproductive, etc.) continues to be as necessary as ever. More than anything else, issues relating to the environment have the potential to rally us around a common cause—so let's keep pushing for a sustainable world and future.