Natural Resources Committee Democrats Respond to Trump’s Advancement of the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines

This is a press release from the Natural Resources Committee Democrats, US House of Representatives concerning President Trump’s decision and actions to push ahead with two highly controversial petroleum pipeline projects.

These projects had previously been stopped because they did not meet environmental standards, or because they violated tribal agreements. It is still quite possible that these reasons still matter, and that President Trump cant’ simply wish the projects back into existence. Or maybe he can. It remains to be determined.

Here is the statement:

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva and key members of the Committee released the following statement today on the announcement that President Donald Trump will advance the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines through executive order. Grijalva – who published a Feb. 27, 2014, New York Times op-ed opposing the Keystone pipeline and who met with leaders at the Standing Rock Sioux camp opposed to Dakota Access early last year – has been a leading advocate for due process and environmental justice in pipeline construction. He held a Capitol Hill forum with Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) on Sept. 22, 2016, to highlight the damage often done to Native American sovereignty, health and environmental quality when pipelines are rubber-stamped.

“Even for a president who mistakes his own whims for the rule of law and corporate profits for the public interest, these orders are irresponsible,” said Grijalva. “These pipelines are being approved because President Trump wants to make polluter corporations happy, not because they’re good for the country. If either of these pipelines is finalized, the damage to water quality, public health, and eventually our climate will be on his hands. Approving the Dakota Access project in particular violates Native American sovereignty, treaty rights and federal trust responsibility which the Obama administration rightly recognized when it decided the pipeline needed further review.”

“Advancing the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines ignores years of environmental studies and opposition from local residents and landowners,” said Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.). “Instead of investing in polluting fossil fuels, we should be supporting clean, renewable energy projects that will create jobs and help our nation reduce carbon emissions.”

“Today’s actions are short-sighted with so many questions still remaining as to the risks these pipelines pose to water quality, public health, and the environment,” said Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.). “As the new Ranking Member of the Indian, Insular, and Alaska Native Subcommittee, I am especially concerned with the threat the Dakota Access Pipeline poses to Native American sovereignty given the lack of input from tribal leaders whose lands stand to be severely impacted. President Trump should have allowed the thorough review process initiated by the Obama administration to be completed before rushing through this decision.”

“Just days after being sworn in, Mr. Trump has already shown he is ignoring scientists and the community in an effort to serve the big oil industry,” said Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.). This is a complete disregard for the environment and for Native American rights to water, their land, but above all, to be treated with dignity and respect.”

One order directs all federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to expedite approval of the easement to complete construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline project. Moving forward Ranking Member Grijalva will continue to maintain strong oversight of the Dakota Access Pipeline to ensure that any further action taken by the Trump administration protects water quality, tribal sovereignty and does not turn American energy infrastructure projects into super highways that carry oil from Canada to China.

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