Trump reignites fights over Keystone XL, Dakota Access pipelines

President Trump reopened the bitter fights over the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines this week by paving the way for their quick federal approval and possible construction. President Obama rejected KXL in 2015, declaring that the trans-border pipeline was “not in the national interest.” In addition to undermining efforts to combat climate change, the pipeline and the tar sands oil it would carry (the world’s dirtiest) would put U.S. communities, lands, and waters at risk. On Tuesday, Trump invited TransCanada to resubmit its application and ordered the State Department to decide on its approval within 60 days. Despite these actions, significant obstacles to KXL remain. Stay tuned.

Dakota Access sparked similar concerns over drinking water contamination. Original construction plans put DAPL near the mostly white city of Bismarck, North Dakota, but the pipeline was rerouted to pass under the Standing Rock Sioux’s water source as well as their sacred burial grounds. The tribe was not given a meaningful opportunity to comment on the project. After massive protests and nonviolent demonstrations last year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers refused to grant DAPL a necessary  permit until the completion of a full environmental review. On Tuesday, Trump directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to “review and approve in an expedited manner” DAPL’s construction request.

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