On just his second full day in office, President Trump signed paperwork that renegotiates the terms of two pipelines. The Dakota Access Pipeline, running from North Dakota’s Bakken oilfields to Illinois, and the highly disputed Keystone XL, which would bring oil from the Canadian oil sands in Alberta to the Gulf Coast, both received Trump’s golden stamp of approval in an executive memorandum.
The memorandum states that President Trump believes that “construction and operation of lawfully permitted pipeline infrastructure serve the national interest.” The memorandum provides clear directives that press for a swift revival of the DAPL, a project Trump has always supported.
In addition, Trump also called for a “renegotiation” of the Keystone XL, successfully vetoed by President Obama in 2015. Obama rejected the pipeline’s approval because he said it would continue to encourage fossil fuel extraction instead of “curbing reliance on carbon energy to address a warming climate.” Trump has vocally questioned the validity of climate change, calling it a “con job” and part of a Chinese plot to weaken U.S. economy.
While environmentalists have sharply criticized the new executive orders, supporters rally at the prospect of job creation. President Trump touted the pipeline’s ability to do exactly this, reports NPR:
Trump said the Keystone XL pipeline will mean “a lot of jobs, 28,000 construction jobs, great construction jobs.”
Keeping in sync with his “America First” mantra, Trump signed a decree that the pipelines be build with American steel, “like we used to in the old days,” reported NPR. Two additional decrees would streamline the permitting process, “reducing regulatory burdens for domestic manufacturing” and “expedite environmental reviews and approvals for high-priority infrastructure projects.” The cumbersome and difficult permitting process is a common complaint of those building the pipelines. Yet, environmental groups argue that the process ensures that such infrastructure projects do not harm wildlife or people during and after construction, minimizing environmental impact and health concerns.