By Stefan Markarian
On January 27, President Donald Trump furthered to diminish former president Barack Obama’s environmental conservation efforts, as he signed executive orders that seek to revive the construction of the controversial Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, told reporters that “the president is very, very keen on making sure that we maximize our use of natural resources to America’s benefit.” He then related that “It’s good for economic growth, it’s good for jobs, and it’s good for American energy.” Former president Obama had halted the construction of both pipelines during his second term, amid serious protests from environmental groups and Native American tribes.
The Dakota Access Pipeline, owned by the Energy Transfer Company, still has about 1,100 miles of pipe left before it’s completed. The pipeline would transport oil from reserves in North Dakota down to refineries and other networks in Illinois. Project developers assure that this pipeline will permit the United States to tap it’s own oil, rather than relying on destabilized regions for oil, and in the process, create jobs. When the pipeline was being constructed during the Obama presidency, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe heavily protested the project, as they were worried that, should the pipeline rupture, it would contaminate their only supply of water. They also stated that the pipeline was trespassing on sacred ground. The tribes braved the harsh winter to camp in the way of the construction. They were joined by hundreds of people from across the world who stood in solidarity with the Native Americans.
The Keystone XL pipeline, owned by Canadian company, TransCanada, would carry oil from Alberta, Canada to refineries and oil farms in Illinois, Oklahoma, and Texas. Opponents of this pipeline claim that it would further climate change because this pipeline would carry tar, sands, and oil, which requires massive amounts of energy to extract, and thus being greenhouse gas intensive. The potential for oil spills could also be devastating to the environment.
Should construction begin once again on these pipelines, President Trump can surely expect large protests across the country from environmentalists, Native Americans, and a wide variety of Americans, as various surveys report that Americans are largely divided on whether these pipelines should be constructed.
Information for this report was taken from the nytimes.com and washingtonpost.com
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