Trump’s Executive Actions: Keystone XL, Dakota Access Pipeline II

By Ian Teñido

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President Trump finally went ahead and authorized the completion and construction of Dakota Pipeline which is a 1,172 mile conduit slated to ferry crude oil from North Dakota to Southern Illinois once it is completed. During the Obama administration, the approval for the pipeline construction was halted in 2015 after outrage sparked and residents mainly by Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota spiraled and reached boiling points where violence by both the residents and police was reported as an attempt to calm the protests was launched. Going ahead to approve its construction today, cumulatively, continues to prove the fears of the environmental activists on Trump’s presidency; he is for sure going to take us back where we were, environmental-wise, during the Bush administration.

Environmentally speaking, lots and lots of vegetation, trees, and cultural sites will now be cleared and this will lead to soil erosion, deforestation and tons of soil around the pipeline will be rendered useless; the environmental health will grow worst yet these are just but a few examples of the many impacts. To this end therefore, I believe that the blocking of the project by Obama administration was the right move and would preserve life a few more years for the coming generations. However, the immediate change of guard in the oval office is proving to be a pure capitalist putting the corporate interests first ahead of the American Interests.

In particular, the Standing Rock Sioux, whose lands are just half a mile south of the proposed project, have stipulated that the project will desecrate sacred burial and prayer sites and will also leak the oil into the Missouri and Cannon Ball rivers, from which the tribe relies, entirely, for water. Dwelling on this example as the cause for alarm, it can clearly be established that the project did not conduct an in-depth environmental impact analysis and thus assumed, greatly, the consequences that the project will have on both the social and environmental components of sustainable development.

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I am pretty sure that protecting the environment is not a form of madness but stewardship for the sake of both inter and intra-generational equity. To clearly understand how the project blatantly disrespects the rule of Sustainable Development, we need to break the three components and discuss them differently. To start with, the project will have a great breakthrough in as a far as economic reality and efficiency is concerned. The pipeline will make transportation of crude oil from North Dakota to Southern Illinois cheap, less risky and therefore increase the profits for the company and will go a step farther to make gas cheaper at the pumps. However, socially, the project will disturb the cultural peace of numerous sites both during the construction of the pipeline and during its operational years through oil leaks and continued maintenance.

Although the project has already been approved, it can still stall given the fact that a host of environmental interest groups in addition to the Standing Rock Sioux are making earliest strategies to defeat such a move. Another huddle for the project is that it requires state approval. This offers a ray of hope if the Nebraska landowners can be lobbied to oppose TransCanada from constructing the pipeline. As it stands today, the Nebraska activists are likely to renew their protests thus offering Trump a narrow window to maneuver whatsoever (Davenport, 2017). If the project gets consent from the state, there’s a big possibility that Americans will lose profit but TransCanada and Energy Transfer Partners will earn more, given that their shares have already increased in value by almost 5%.

Article Download Link: Trumps Executive Actions Keystone XL Dakota Access Pipeline II_Ian Tenido_PDF

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References

Davenport, P. (2017). Trump Revives Keystone Pipeline Rejected by Obama. NY Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/24/us/politics/keystone-dakota-pipeline-trump.html?_r=0

Kolpack, D. & Macpherson, J. (2016). Federal Government Halts Work on Part of Pipeline Project. ABC News. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/key-ruling-dakota-access-pipeline-due-end-friday-41967632

Teñido, I. (2016). Dakota Pipeline Protest. Environment@List. Retrieved from https://environmentlist.com/2016/09/11/dakota-pipeline-protests/

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