- Views & Opinions
President Donald Trump is expected to use his executive powers to advance the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
TransCanada, the foreign company behind the Keystone XL project, will attempt to use eminent domain to sue U.S. landowners and seize private property in order to pipe this fuel across the United States for export.
After Barack Obama rejected the pipeline in 2015, TransCanada sued the U.S. under the North American Free Trade Agreement for $15 billion. Despite his previous remarks concerning NAFTA, Trump did not address the company and its lawsuit before backing the KXL project.
Following months of national opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Department of the Army ordered an environmental review of the project in December 2016.
The pipeline was originally proposed to cross the Missouri River just above Bismarck, North Dakota, but after complaints, it was rerouted to cross the river along sacred Tribal grounds, less than a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation..
Trump had invested in Energy Transfer, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. His spokespeople have claimed he has since divested, but no proof of this has been presented.
Reaction to the news of the executive orders from 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben: 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. 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.”
And more reaction from the progressive community:
350.org executive director May Boeve said: “Trump clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing. Indigenous peoples, landowners, and climate activists did everything in our power to stop Keystone XL and Dakota Access, and we’ll do it again. These orders will only reignite the widespread grassroots opposition to these pipelines and other dirty energy projects. Trump is about to meet the fossil fuel resistance head on.”
Greenpeace Executive Director Annie Leonard said: “A powerful alliance of Indigenous communities, ranchers, farmers and climate activists stopped the Keystone and the Dakota Access pipelines the first time around, and the same alliances will come together to stop them again if Trump tries to raise them from the dead. 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 ahead.
“We all saw the incredible strength and courage of the water protectors at Standing Rock, and the people around the world who stood with them in solidarity. We’ll stand with them again if Trump tries to bring the Dakota Access Pipeline, or any other fossil fuel infrastructure project, back to life.”
Oil Change International campaigns director David Turnbull said: “Both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines will never be completed, no matter what President Trump and his oil-soaked cabinet try to do. Trump’s first days in office saw massive opposition, marking the beginning of four years of resistance to his dangerous policies. We stopped Keystone XL and Dakota Access before and we’ll do it again. These are fights Trump and his bullies won’t win.”
CREDO Deputy Political Director Josh Nelson said: “President Trump is showing that he’s in the pocket of big corporations and foreign oil interests. Approving these dirty oil pipelines would poison American air and water, supercharge climate change and trample Native American rights. Fierce grassroots activism has stopped these pipelines over and over again.”
Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said: “Donald Trump has been in office for four days and he’s already proving to be the dangerous threat to our climate we feared he would be. But, these pipelines are far from being in the clear. The millions of Americans and hundreds of Tribes that stood up to block them in the first place will not be silenced, and will continue fighting these dirty and dangerous projects.
“Trump claims he’s a good businessman, yet he’s encouraging dirty, dangerous tar sands development when clean energy is growing faster, producing more jobs, and has a real future. Trump claims he cares about the American people, but he’s allowing oil companies to steal and threaten their land by constructing dirty and dangerous pipelines through it. Trump claims he wants to protect people’s clean air and water, but he’s permitting a tar sand superhighway that will endanger both and hasten the climate crisis.
“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.
“Simply put, Donald Trump is who we thought he is: a person who will sell off Americans’ property and Tribal rights, clean air, and safe water to corporate polluters.”
Indigenous Environmental Network executive director Tom BK Goldtooth said: “The Indigenous Environmental Network is extremely alarmed with President Donald Trump’s announcement of the two Executive Orders setting the stage for approving the dirty energy pipeline projects of the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Sioux Tribes, as sovereign Native nations, were never consulted by Trump or his Administration on this decision that further violates the treaty rights of the Lakota, Nakota, Dakota people. Trump is portraying his true self by joining forces with the darkness of the Black Snake pipelines crossing across the culturally and environmentally rich landscape of the prairie lands of America.
“These actions by President Trump are insane and extreme, and nothing short of attacks on our ancestral homelands as Indigenous peoples. The actions by the president today demonstrate that this Administration is more than willing to violate federal law that is meant to protect Indigenous rights, human rights, the environment and the overall safety of communities for the benefit of the fossil fuel industry.”