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Trump Signs Two Executive Orders Giving Himself “Sole Approval” on Pipelines and Roads

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Donald Trump just signed two executive orders related to removing restrictions and speeding up approval of oil and gas projects while visiting Texas on Wednesday.

Crosby, Texas — During a day of fundraisers and rallies across Texas, President Donald Trump signed two executive orders intended to speed up the approval process for oil and gas projects. The orders also limit states’ ability to intervene in these projects.

My action today will cut though destructive permitting and delays,” Trump told an enthusiastic crowd at the International Union of Operating Engineers. Trump stated that he “ended the war on energy” since entering the White House.

One of Trump’s executive orders is aimed at streamlining the approval process for energy infrastructure that crosses international borders. Trump said pipelines, roads, and railways along the border will take no more than 60 days to be approved or denied and that the decision will now come directly from the President himself. “The President will have sole approval, not the bureaucracy,” Trump told his supporters at the union. This order changes previous rules which gave the Secretary of State the authority to issue permits for cross-border pipelines and similar infrastructure—a process that has, in some cases, taken years.

Trump blamed the delay of pipeline projects on states like Washington and New York for restrictive policies on oil and gas. “New York is hurting the country because they are not allowing the pipelines to get through,” Trump said. He also blamed “radical activists” for slowing down the completion of pipeline projects around the nation, including the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The DAPL faced heavy resistance from environmental groups, indigenous communities, and allied activists from around the world in 2016.

In late March, the Trump administration approved the equally controversial and long-delayed TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline by ignoring previous court rulings and issuing a new presidential permit for the project. Trump had approved the pipeline two years ago but the project was mired in legal challenges. While the southern portion of the project was completed years ago, construction of the portion from Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska, has been delayed.

We approved the Keystone XL pipeline, almost on day one,” Trump stated at Wednesday’s event. “We got the Dakota Access Pipeline out of a lot of trouble. They had a little problem, they didn’t have a permit but I gave it to them.” Wednesday’s executive orders are an indication that Trump wants to speed up construction of the Keystone XL.

Trump’s statements follow the passage of two new state bills in South Dakota that are meant to prevent protest of the construction of the portion of the Keystone XL pipeline that passes through the state. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has stated that the so-called “Riot Boosting” legislation will help shut down protests of the Keystone XL Pipeline and prevent a battle between protesters and police as was seen during the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

When considered together, the executive orders and the South Dakota bills do not bode well for opponents of the Keystone XL Pipeline. These actions are just the latest in a string of actions putting the Trump administration’s allegiance to the oil and gas lobby (aka the Oilgarchy) on full display. In late March, The Mind Unleashed reported that oil executives were heard discussing Interior Secretary nominee David Bernhardt and celebrating the access they currently have to the Trump Administration on recently released recordings. The recording took place during a 2017 Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPPA) meeting in Southern California.

Whether you support oil and gas pipelines or not, it’s clear that the Trump administration is more concerned with pleasing their buddies in the industry than listening to the American people.

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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