Trump Calls Himself An Environmentalist Then Advances Keystone And Dakota Pipelines
President Donald Trump met with US automakers this morning, assuring them that he plans to reduce environmental regulations. He then proceeded to describe himself as someone who cares about the environment: “I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist. I believe in it.”
During this meeting, news broke that Trump will sign executive orders later this morning that advance the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines. The Obama administration denied the Keystone XL permit in 2015 and did the same with the Dakota Access pipeline at the end of 2016. As expected, Trump signed these two executive orders this morning, as well as others that expedite environmental reviews.
These moves are no surprise, as Trump has made it known where he stands on these issues throughout his campaign. Also, given the fact Trump owned between $15,000 and $50,000 of Energy Transfer Partners’ stock (the company building the Dakota Accesss Pipeline) according to his most recent 2016 financial disclosure form. Trump’s share dropped from his May 2015 disclosure, which listed it between $500,000 and $1 million. Trump’s Director of Strategic Communications Hope Hicks said he has sold his stock, but we have yet to see proof of that sale. Also important to note that Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren gave $100,000 to Trump’s fundraising effort with the GOP, according to FEC records.
The Dakota Access Pipeline became a major point of debate throughout 2016, and was halted by the Obama Administration after huge resistance. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe led a protest to halt the construction of the $3.8 billion dollar, 1,100 mile Pipeline that would run under the Missouri River and carry roughly 450,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The Missouri River is the only source of water for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and 4 million other people downriver from North Dakota to Illinois, so their concerns were centered around their water supply being tainted.
Word of these moves have already angered climate scientists and environmentalists alike. Bill McKibben, founder of the activist group 350.org who fought both pipeline projects, condemned the moves in a statement:
“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 a reason, but we will continue to fight.”