As many feared would be the case once President Trump had taken office, Trump has taken actions to further deconstruct former President Obama policies by agreeing to reopen negotiations between the government and energy companies seeking to build pipelines such as the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline.
This major decision by President Trump firmly asserts his position on climate change and will undoubtedly cause a firestorm of debate over whether or not America should be pursuing clean energy--as a means to combat climate change or simply to honor the commitments made as part of the Paris agreement.
This is likely just one of many decisions set to follow in the direction of getting rid of everything the Obama administration worked to achieve.
Since Trump has entered office, he’s taken the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (the broad 12-nation trade pact), signed executive orders to repeal Obama’s affordable health care program, reversed policies created around abortion and housing, and has frozen any remaining federal regulations enacted by the previous administration.
Although Trump can be seen saying that the construction of these major pipeline projects would provide a massive increase in jobs, studies have found quite the opposite, saying that they would not have a very large impact on jobs or the environment.
But, it's hard to believe that they would not have any detrimental effects on the environment, considering a massive Canadian pipeline located in Saskatchewan province was reported on Friday afternoon to have leaked over 200,000 liters (52,834 gallons) of oil into an aboriginal community.
Not to mention, this spill comes only seven months after another major leak in Saskatchewan that saw 225,000 liters spilled into a major river that resulted in two cities losing their supply of clean drinking water.
The many critics of Donald Trump have already begun to denounce his actions, including executive director of the Sierra Club, Michael Brune, who said:
“Donald Trump has been in office for four days and he’s already proving to be the dangerous threat to our climate we feared he would be.”
Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org (the group that fought the Keystone XL Pipeline), maintains that these actions do not mean anything is final and they will continue to fight for the cause:
“This is not a done deal. The last time around, TransCanada was so confident they literally mowed the strip where they planned to build the pipeline, before people power stopped them. People will mobilize again.”
President Trump has said that these new projects by energy companies and automakers will need to fulfill one condition if they hope to benefit from his administration's leniency: products, parts and services will all need to come from, and be built within, the United States.
Trump met with leaders of the United States auto industry on Tuesday to encourage them to start producing more of their products within their home country. Just this month, Trump posted on Twitter that General Motors will face large border taxes if they continue building vehicles (like the Chevy Cruze hatchback, which is currently produced in Mexico) outside of the United States. And it seems that oil and energy companies hoping to build on U.S. land will face similar regulations.
What do you think about President Trump’s decision to grant approval for major pipeline projects such as the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines? Should we be looking towards the future of clean energy or be focusing on providing jobs for people displaced by a dying industry?