Environmental and Native American tribal activists were dealt a huge blow on Tuesday as Trump announced he will be signing an executive order to continue the construction of the TransCanada Keystone XL and the Energy Access Partners Dakota oil Pipelines. TransCanada had shelved the project on their own accord before President Obama could kill the pipeline for good, while the Army Corps of Engineers halted the Dakota pipeline construction until further analysis could be done on its environmental impacts.
That small victory was only won after a year of furious protests, which saw thousands of people from all over the nation traveling to help defend the sacred lands of the Standing Rock Sioux, where they were met with astonishing violence from corporate security goons and the police themselves – attack dogs, water cannons, tear gas, mass arrests, even targeted sexual humiliation. The protesters persevered, joined by over two thousand veterans from around the nation who felt that protesting at Standing Rock was part of their Constitutional duty.
All that was for naught, however, because President Trump has, with the stroke of a pen, greenlit the construction of both pipelines, as reported by NPR.
It should come as no surprise that Trump has personal gain at stake here: he has $250,000 invested in TransCanada. The top executive of the Dakota Access Pipeline donated $100,000 to the Trump campaign and associated PACs and is now reaping the rewards. Trump’s administration, filled with climate deniers and fossil fuel profiteers, has taken the most virulently anti-climate and anti-science approach that our nation has seen in decades.
Make no mistake; this is only the beginning. He and his oil industry cronies are intent on plundering our natural wilderness for the hidden resources below the surface, no matter the cost to the environment or public health, just so they can line their pockets.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.