The move comes after many years of protests and legislative resistance.
In November 2015, Obama rejected the expansion of the Keystone pipeline. In 2016, he also denied the building of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, despite quietly approving 2 other pipeline projects.
While signing the executive actions, Trump provided a few statements, including the following:
We are going to renegotiate some of the terms and if they’d like, we’ll see if we can get [the Keystone] pipeline built. A lot of jobs. 28,000 jobs. Great construction jobs…
We are, and I am, very insistent that if we’re going to build pipelines in the United States, the pipes should be made in the United States. So unless there’s difficulty with that, because companies are going to have to serve Europe, much pipeline is built from other countries, from now on we’re going to start making pipeline in the United States. We build it in the United States, we build the pipelines, we want to build the pipe. Going to put a lot of workers, a lot of skilled workers back to work. All right, we will build our own pipeline, we will build our own pipes. That’s what it has to do with. Like we used to in the old days.
Of the 5 executive orders signed, Trump also approved the expediting of environmental reviews and approval for high-priority infrastructure projects, stating:
We intend to fix our country, our bridges, our roadways. We can’t be in an environmental process for 15 years if a bridge is going to be falling down or if a highway is crumbling. So we’re expediting environmental reviews and approvals.
Trump’s executive orders are a devastating loss to protesters who have fought against the expansion of oil projects for years.
Most recently, the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota was the site of a grueling standoff between Native Americans and police.
Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard released the following statement:
A powerful alliance of Indigenous communities, ranchers, farmers, and climate activists stopped the Keystone and the Dakota Access pipelines the first time around, and the same alliances will come together to stop them again if Trump tries to raise them from the dead.
If the protests at Standing Rock were any indicator, then the Trump Administration may be in for some hard times as they attempt implement these new executive actions.