Photo by Mary Anne Andrei/Bold Nebraska
What it looked like outside the White House in 2013 when the Obama Administration was tinkering with approving Keystone XL pipeline.
After spending the morning with automakers and telling the assembled press that “environmentalism is out of control,” U.S. president Donald Trump issued executive orders to revive two contentious pipelines, Keystone XL and Dakota Access.
On his second full day in office, Trump officially opened the doors to “renegotiating” the construction of Trans Canada’s proposed 2,982 kilometre Keystone XL pipeline, after former president Barack Obama rejected the project last year. Trump says he’ll demand a better deal using U.S. steel.
He also set the stage for construction of the final leg of the Dakota Access pipeline, for which the Obama Administration denied a permit last month – and in which Trump owns a financial stake. Trump signed additional executive orders expediting the environmental review process for “high priority infrastructure projects” and brought in a "temporary" media blackout at the EPA.
Environmentalists and Indigenous groups, outraged by the decisions and vowing to fight both pipelines in the courts and on the streets, held a noon-hour teleconference today. Here’s a roundup of reactions.
“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. By granting the easement, Trump is risking our treaty rights and water supply to benefit his wealthy contributors and friends. We are not opposed to energy independence. We are opposed to reckless and politically-motivated development projects like DAPL. Creating a second Flint does not make America great again.”
Dave Archambault II, chair of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
“This move is legally questionable, at best. And based on what we know about Trump's financial dealings in the Dakota Access pipeline, it raises serious ethical concerns. He should brace himself to contend with the laws he is flouting, and the millions of Americans who are opposed to these dangerous and destructive projects. We will see his administration in court.”
Trip Van Noppen, president of non-profit environmental law organization Earthjustice.
“[Canada's] federal government needs to revisit its 2010 [Keystone XL] pipeline approval that was done without any consideration for Canada’s climate commitments. Keystone XL was approved before Canada signed and ratified the Paris Climate Agreement and before the Pan-Canadian Framework on Climate Change was put in place. With the recent approval of Line 3 and Kinder Morgan, there is no more room for pipelines under Alberta’s legislated cap on tar sands emissions. There is no economic rationale to support the construction of yet another tar sands pipeline. Current tar sands pipeline capacity is underutilized and the price of oil is too low to justify new tar sands projects.”
Patrick DeRochie, Environmental Defence's climate and energy program manager.
“Instead of pushing bogus claims about the potential of pipelines to create jobs, Trump should focus his efforts on the clean energy sector where America’s future lives. Trump’s energy plan is more of the same — full of giveaways to his fossil fuel cronies at a time when renewable energy is surging."
Annie Leonard, Greenpeace USA executive director.
“The idea that approving these pipelines will produce jobs is the perfect example of an alternative fact. All the planet’s top climate scientists have made it clear we should not be opening these vast deposits of carbon with pipelines, the same scientists at the EPA today he was gagging. Donald Trump is a con man and this is a con on a massive scale and we will fight it with everything we’ve got. There’s no possible justification for the need of these pipelines on the grounds of science."
Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org.
"President Trump will live to regret his actions this morning. President Trump has unwittingly begun to build a wall. It’s a wall resistence and defiance the likes of which the president never imagined. It’s a wall that he’s already beginning to pay for with his low popularity. Let me be clear. The millions of Americans and the hundreds of tribes that stood up to block these pipelines in the first place will not be silent and we will continue to fight these dirty and dangerous projects for as long as they’re proposed."
Michael Brune, executive director Sierra Club (US).