Piping Down

January 24, 2017 11:47 am by Jacob McAllister

oil pipeline
The gauntlet on climate change has been thrown…
We got our first official action on the environment today, and it looks like trouble ahead…
In a huge blow to the movement, President Trump signed an executive order today which will allow the construction of both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines to move forward. From the Washington Post:

President Trump has signed executive orders clearing the way for the controversial Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines to move forward, according to people who have been briefed by Trump advisers. And he signed an executive order to expedite environmental reviews of other infrastructure projects.

The statement paves the way for the administration to start laying out their environmental policy agenda, which is looking decidedly pro oil and gas.

Rewriting the Rulebook

What stands out the most is the tone of the administration towards environmental regulation, regarding it generally as a nuisance to economic growth. Sweeping overhaul of the regulatory structure is coming very soon.

President Trump told leaders of the country’s largest automakers Tuesday that he will curtail “unnecessary” environmental regulations and make it easier to build plants in the U.S., changes that he expects will shore up the manufacturing jobs he repeatedly promised to voters on the campaign trail.

Jobs at all costs, including polluting and ramping up global climate change, looks to be the play here. This represents a radical departure from how we have been doing business under the Obama administration, and confirms all suspicions that this administration will not be prioritizing environmental concerns. Trump and the Republicans have long had their sites set on the regulatory apparatus where this matter is concerned.

The Push Back

Environmentalists and Native American activists are already pushing back hard against this announcement. Greenpeace has issued a statement against the move:

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.

The Indigenous Environmental Network issued the following statement condemning the actions:

Look for more backlash to come…

The First Salvo In a Long Battle

This is just the beginning. Look for this debate to heat up in the public arena in the coming months. The future of our economy is being shaped in radically different directions, and we all should be involved in the debate about just how much economic growth should take precedence. Those of us who care about the future of the planet will be screaming for a seat at the table. Will our voices be heard?

Update [1:10 PM] – Trump has placed a gag order on the EPA effective immediately.

Trump gives green light to Dakota Access, Keystone XL oil pipelines


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