President Donald Trump signed five executive orders on Tuesday, two of which could pave the way for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines that were stymied by the previous administration.
“The regulatory process in this country has become a tangled up mess,” Trump said of the other three orders, which are aimed at cutting through some of the Obama administration’s job-killing environmental regulations.
President Obama closed the door on the Keystone project in late 2015 and his administration temporarily put a halt to the Dakota Access pipeline when protests began to turn ugly.
To the surprise of no one, environmental groups reacted with fury to Trump’s orders. They claim that the two pipelines will only exacerbate the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and put nearby residents at risk of disaster.
“Keystone, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and fossil fuel infrastructure projects like them will only make billionaires richer and make the rest of us suffer,” said Greenpeace in a statement. “We will resist this with all of our power and we will continue to build the future the world wants to see.”
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which has demanded an end to the Dakota Access Pipeline, also spoke out against Trump’s decision. In an interview with NBC News, tribal chairman Dave Archambault II said the Standing Rock tribe would fight the president in court.
“The Trump administration’s politically motivated decision violates the law and the Tribe will take legal action to fight it,” said Archambault. “We are not opposed to energy independence. We are opposed to reckless and politically motivated development projects, like DAPL, that ignore our treaty rights and risk our water. Creating a second Flint does not make America great again.”
The Keystone XL pipeline has been a political football for some time. Republicans have exaggerated the number of jobs that would be created by the project and Democrats have exaggerated the environmental impact the pipeline would have. Until it started eating up headlines, Obama seemed content to let the project linger in the State Department until the end of his presidency. He rejected it only because he was headed to Paris for the big climate summit and he wanted some good publicity to take with him.
As for the Dakota Access pipeline, it only became a subject of controversy when Native Americans in the area began protesting vigorously against its construction. The Obama administration reacted to those protests in December when the Army Corps of Engineers announced that they would look for a way to route the pipeline around the Sioux reservation.
President Trump understands that we can’t let environmentalist psychos hold the U.S. economy hostage, and these executive orders are a symbol of that understanding.