On Friday, January 20th, environmentalists around the world became a lot more afraid for the planet when President Donald Trump was officially sworn into office. And now, it looks like they had every right to be concerned. The 45th president is green-lighting both the Dakota Access and the Keystone XL pipelines, both of which were halted by President Obama.
Obama rejected permits for the Keystone XL pipeline completely, and also forced work to be halted on the Dakota Access pipeline after significant backlash from the public and local protesters. For many, the denial of the Keystone project and the work stoppage of Dakota Access felt like a big victory in the battle against the fossil fuel industry. But it looks like President Trump has no intention of honoring the actions of his predecessor.
“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,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune.
This move, along with President Trump’s new “America First Energy Plan,” are evidence of Trump’s plan to give the fossil fuel industry a lot more freedom in a world that is actively trying to find alternative energy solutions.
If both pipelines are completed, it would create a combined 2,279 miles of oil pipelines spanning from Alberta, Canada, to Texas, and North Dakota to Illinois. More worryingly, the Dakota Access pipeline would cross over hundreds of miles of Native American territory and have horrible environmental impacts, while the Keystone XL pipeline could potentially contaminate the Ogallala aquifer.
Both pipelines have become much more than simple fossil fuel industry projects; they have turned into a massive battle for Native Americans and environmental groups. For protestors, the projects would mean loss of land, destruction of sacred grounds, and terrible environmental damage.
Despite the impacts of these projects, President Trump will give the go-ahead for both pipelines and continue to ignore the climate change issues of the world.
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