On September 2016, CO2 levels reached the point of no return; scientists have said 400ppm is the magical, irreversible number and that those levels will never decrease again in our lifetime. The last time levels were that high, humans did not exist. Climate change is an real danger and our president is choosing to ignore it and sign executive orders that threaten Earth by advocating pipelines.
On January 20, 2017, President Trump purged all references of climate change from the WhiteHouse.Gov website. President Trump vocally opposed the irrefutable evidence on climate change. On November 6, 2012, he tweeted: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Three years later, on October 19, 2015, he then tweeted: “It’s really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!”
Nevertheless, he has already made some economically dubious and controversial decisions. On Tuesday, he signed two executive orders to revive the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is going through sacred Sioux burial grounds, and Keystone XL Pipeline. He has also ordered a temporary freeze on grants for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and he has banned the EPA staffers to not use any social media, issue any press releases, nor use any blogs until “further direction” is given. On the newly updated WhiteHouse.Gov website, Trump has made it very clear where he stands with the oil and gas industry.
“We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own.”
After President Obama halted the construction, the Army Corps was in the process of preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which included finding alternative routes. The Army Corps of Engineers is the agency involved with the construction of the pipeline. However, with Trump’s approval, they now have the option of continuing with the EIS or reverting with the original plan. If they decide to look for alternative routes, their plan will have to be approved by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works and the US Army Corps of Engineers. President Trump will handpick the Assistant Secretary.
TransCanada, a Canadian firm, proposed the Keystone XL Pipeline project was presented during the Obama administration. They planned to build a pipeline from Steele City, North Dakota to Hardisty, Canada, and it would transport 830,000 barrels of carbon-heavy petroleum every day. Obama rejected TransCanada’s proposal, arguing that the project would undermine the United States position on climate change.
Trump’s decisions are mired with scrutiny and personal interests; he has received over $100,000 in donations from the Energy Transfer Partners, the company in charge of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Trump had stock in Energy Transfers and in Phillips66, a company that owns at least quarter of that pipeline. Trump reported that he sold his stock, however he is not required to file another disclosure form until later this year. When he was asked about a conflict of interest, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer replied, “by law, he can’t have conflicts.”
In a world that is filled with alternative facts, Twitter rampages, gag orders on government agencies, Cabinet appointments of grossly unqualified individuals, repealing of ACA without a new plan, and the promotion of xenophobia, one must ask if the Trump Administration is creating a new “law” that protects the interests of the wealthy, the majority, and the apathetic.