Trump signs orders reviving Keystone, Dakota Access pipelines - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Trump signs orders reviving Keystone, Dakota Access pipelines

Trump signed executive actions on Monday targeting federal hiring, trade and abortion. Tuesday, he may take on the two pipelines. (Source: CNN) Trump signed executive actions on Monday targeting federal hiring, trade and abortion. Tuesday, he may take on the two pipelines. (Source: CNN)
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(RNN) - President Trump has advanced two controversial pipelines via executive actions on Tuesday, media reported.

The pipelines are subject to terms and conditions, Trump said.

Trump, at the signing of the executive orders, said there will be a renegotiation of the pipeline and "if (the people) like it, we can get that built."

The pipes should be made in the U.S. "if the pipeline is going to be built in the United States," Trump said.

He also said he signed an order "expediting future environmental reviews," and bemoaned a regulatory process he described as lengthy.

The Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines have been heavily protested by environmentalists and those impacted by the pipelines.

The Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota and those supporting them protested the Dakota Access Pipeline over the winter, citing environmental and clean water concerns, with worries a pipeline leak would contaminate the nearby Missouri River.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said via Facebook that it will fight Trump's executive order, which it described as illegal.

"Today, Trump announced an executive order on DAPL; it not only violates the law, but it violates tribal treaties. Nothing will deter us from our fight for clean water," the tribe said. "We will be taking legal action, and will take this fight head on."

In July, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave approval to the 1,168-mile pipeline, designed to stretch across four states, but the Standing Rock Tribe sued.

The Corps denied the company a permit for easement to finish the pipeline in December.

As for the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama rejected the nearly 1,200 pipeline stretching across six U.S. states in November 2015 after a lengthy review by the State Department, CNN reported

"America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change, and frankly, approving this project would have undercut that leadership," Obama said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan lauded the news of the pipelines' revival, saying, "It's about time. The unfortunate reality is that these important infrastructure projects were used by special interests to advance their radical anti-energy agenda and were therefore needlessly halted by the last administration - to the detriment of America’s national interest."

Freshman Sen. Kamala Harris, D-CA, disagreed with the projects.

"Instead of projects that only benefit Big Oil execs, we should protect local water supplies & develop new clean energy. We must fight back," she tweeted.

In response to Trump signing the executive orders, Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said, “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. But these pipelines are far from being in the clear. The millions of Americans and hundreds of Tribes that stood up to block them in the first place will not be silenced, and will continue fighting these dirty and dangerous projects." 

A Canadian official praised the decision on Keystone.

"It would be very positive for Canada: 4,500 construction jobs, the deepening of the relationship across the border on the energy file," Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said, according to the Province.

Officials with TransCanada, the Calgary-based company behind the pipeline, said they hoped Trump would revive the pipeline and was "evaluating ways to convince the new administration on the benefits, the jobs and the tax revenues this project brings to the table," the Washington Post reported after the election.

Trump's nominee to lead the State Department, Rex Tillerson, previously helmed Exxon. Tillerson's nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a close vote Monday.

The State Department has authority in the Keystone pipeline permitting because it involves an international border.

The tar sands oil that would be transported via the Keystone XL pipeline has been criticized for being particularly damaging to the environment because of the large amount of water required to process it, according to the 2012 Oil Shale and Tar Sands Prorgrammatic EIS Information Center.

During his campaign, Trump embraced fossil fuels and doubted climate change. 

Indeed, climate change has disappeared from whitehouse.gov, replaced with "An America First Energy Plan" and an emphasis on deregulation, with environmental rules likely getting disregarded.

"For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry," the plan stated. "President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule." 

The Trump administration is also poised to embrace "the shale oil and gas revolution."

Monday, he signed executive actions, announcing an intention to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a revival of what is called the Mexico City Policy, or a ban on assistance globally to agencies that provide abortion and a hiring freeze on all federal civilian employees.

At the signing ceremony Tuesday, Trump also said that he will be naming a Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died early last year.

Scalia died unexpectedly on Feb. 13, 2016 while on vacation at a hunting resort in Shafter, TX.  He had been appointed to the court in 1986 after the resignation of Chief Justice Warren Burger.

Scalia was a strict adherent to the philosophy of originalism, the belief that the Constitution should be interpreted in terms of what the authors meant at the time of ratification. Scalia believed that the Constitution was intended not to facilitate change but to make change more difficult.

He was the anchor of the Court’s conservative majority and became a hero for conservative thinkers and organizations.

In March 2016, a little more than a month after Scalia died, Obama nominated Merrick Garland, 63, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Gar;amd served as an appellate judge for almost two decades and was well-regarded in legal circles. He was considered a moderate based on his rulings over many years.

The Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, steadfastly refused to act on Obama’s nominee, reasoning that the next president should nominate the next justice.

Some conservative groups balked at the risky move, since at the time Hillary Clinton was expected to defeat Donald Trump in the election. Clinton would likely appoint a more liberal judge that Garland, they reasoned.

The gamble paid off for conservatives, as Trump was elected to the White House.

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