Trump Signs Executive Orders Reviving Keystone, Dakota Pipeline Projects


Moving to swiftly undermine the work of his predecessor and a day after dismantling the Affordable Care Act; upending Obama-era policies on housing and abortion—(a restrictive move that would have calamitous global results for women in need of contraception, abortions, gynecological exams, and maternal care); ordering a hiring freeze for federal agencies; and abandoning a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, on Tuesday Trump continued his whirlwind first week as President with the signing of executive orders reviving the construction of Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects blocked by former President Barack Obama; a triumph for energy firms whose efforts were stalled by Obama’s environmental plan.

President Trump said the construction was “subject to renegotiation of terms,” seemed anxious about pipeline construction being completed, and was adamant that pipes be made in the United States, claiming it would create 28,000 construction and steel jobs.

“We are insistent that if we’re going to build pipelines in the United States, the pipes should be made in the United States. Companies are going to have to sort of gear up; much pipeline is bought from others countries. From now on, we’re going to start making pipeline in the United States. We’re going to put a lot of steelworkers back to work.”

However, according to an article by High Country News (which links to a study), the building of the Dakota pipeline in particular would not have any significant impact on creating (full-time) jobs.

For months the construction of pipelines in the Dakotas has been a point of contention between pipeline construction companies and Native American communities, allies, and environmental activists, all of whom have expressed legitimate concerns over the adverse effects the pipelines would have on clean drinking water and sacred burial grounds, prompting one of the country’s most significant protests to emerge on the ground and across social media under the hashtag #NoDAPL, highlighting this country’s ugly, centuries old past of violently displacing indigenous people, desecrating their sacred sites and placing Native American tribes in a position of, once again, having to fight for and protect their land.

In the wake of Trump’s executive order the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has refused to take the decision lightly and are gearing up for further resistance, threatening legal action. Jan Hasselman, an attorney representing the Standing Rock tribe, said that Trump had “unlawfully and arbitrarily sidestepped” the previous administration’s findings and that his executive order is “an insult to Standing Rock and all of its supporters in Indian country” and his decision is a “continuation of a historic pattern of trampling on Native rights.”

“We are not opposed to energy independence. We are opposed to reckless and politically motivated development projects, like DAPL, that ignore our treaty rights and risk our water,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman David Archambault, III. He continued, “Creating a second Flint does not make America great again.”

Trump also signed executive orders that would both streamline the permitting process for domestic manufacturing and expedite environmental review of high-priority infrastructure projects, calling the process “long and cumbersome” and a “tangled-up mess” also stating, “sometimes it takes many, many years and we don’t want that to happen. If it’s a ‘no,’ we’ll get a quick ‘no.’ If it’s a ‘yes,’ it’s like, let’s start building.”

Many people took to social media to express their outrage over what’s viewed as a self-serving, environmentally unsound, and irresponsible decision. Organizers have already started rallying outside of the White House to push back against the executive orders, to which Trump offered no comments.

Tiffani Jones is the creator and writer of Coffee Rhetoric, a blog about women, pop-culture, film and race. A frequent contributor to both print and digital media platforms, she is the Digital Content Editor for Northend Agent’s and a Media Coordinator for a non-profit youth organization. Tiffani has offered commentary on HuffPost Live, in the NY Times, and on WNPR in another life. More info about her work can be found on Follow her on Twitter: @Coffey0072