Last Friday, with no fanfare or boasting, the President signed a new Executive Order approving the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which had been held up in extended litigation over whether environmental reviews of the project were sufficient. The new order replaced a previous permit and executive order from early 2017 reversing the Obama Administration and green-lighting the controversial project.
- Last November, a U.S. federal judge in Montana blocked construction of the pipeline because the “U.S. State Department environmental analysis ‘fell short of a ‘hard look’ at the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions and the impact on Native American land resources.”
- The pipeline would carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude each day of very “dirty” oil from Canada’s oil sands all the way to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico region.
- President Barack Obama rejected a portion of the pipeline, saying it would provide little benefit to the U.S. economy and would exacerbate global warming.
Environmental groups immediately objected to the President’s decision on Friday, arguing that he was violating “bedrock” environmental laws and doing so or a foreign pipeline company. “We will continue to pursue every available avenue to ensure that this pipeline is never built,” Michael Brune, Sierra Club’s executive director, told Reuters.
Why This Matters: Oops, he did it again. President Trump’s new XL Pipeline executive order seems to be even less likely to hold up in court than the first one. So while his disregard for the environmental laws that have made this country great is a short term problem, in the long run, we believe his efforts will fail. But in the meantime, these reckless decisions can do a huge amount of damage to our land and waters and our battle against climate change. And will be a tremendous motivator to turn out millennials and others who care about the environment to vote against the President in 2020.