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.
LIVE: President Trump Delivers Remarks and Signs an Executive Order on Energy & Infrastructure https://t.co/2l3HEYME99
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 10, 2019
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.