Donald Trump Approves Construction Of Controversial Keystone Pipeline

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media
Alex Wong / Getty Images

Donald Trump has signed an order that will allow the construction of the highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline, according to the Washington Post.

Trump’s order, which he signed before the weekend, “gives TransCanada permission to construct, connect, operate and maintain the pipeline in U.S. territory.” The president has signed the permit months after a judge decided that the project should not be allowed to continue. The judge’s decision was based on the fact that he didn’t believe the administration had really taken into account the potential environmental factors involved.

According to the judge, the National Environmental Policy Act requires that this kind of massive project is properly reviewed prior to being undertaken to determine the “environmental impact.” Unfortunately, it may be that the president can sidestep this requirement.

Christopher Guith, acting president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute, has praised Trump for making the call to sign the order.

“We’re pleased to see action that will help clear the way for development of the Keystone XL pipeline. The Keystone XL pipeline is one of the most studied pieces of infrastructure in American history.”

Others were not so complimentary of the move.

“The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline was a bad idea from day one and it remains a terrible idea,” said Anthony Swift, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Canada project. “If built, it would threaten our land, our drinking water, and our communities from Montana and Nebraska to the Gulf Coast. And it would drive dangerous climate change.”

The project was first halted during former President Barack Obama’s time in the White House, over concerns that there were too many environmental dangers with the pipeline’s construction and running. It didn’t take Trump long into taking over the Oval Office to sign documents that would allow the construction to continue.

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The judge who had stopped the project ruled that Trump had “simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change” when he decided to restart it. Trump argued that the decision was a “political” one, calling it “a disgrace” to reporters.

It’s not the only project that has been halted by a judge lately because of environmental factors. According to The Verge, earlier this month, a judge aired his concerns over the fact that there is drilling taking place on over 300,000 acres of formerly public land in Wyoming.

In that case, Judge Rudolph Contreras has blocked the drilling, explaining that the U.S. Department of the Interior “did not sufficiently consider climate change” when they allowed that project to go forward.

Trump has on numerous occasions made clear over his Twitter account that he doesn’t believe in climate change, arguing that cold weather refutes the theory of global warming completely. The president’s continued disbelief in climate change means that he doesn’t have any qualms about approving construction and energy projects that scientists would say will have a negative impact on the environment.