January 24, 2017

Today, on his fourth day in office, President Trump signed memos to “advance” the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

Al Gore recently called the Dakota Access Pipeline “an atrocity,” and millions of people continue to support the Standing Rock Sioux and the water protectors in North Dakota in their struggle to protect the land, water, and the climate from the dangers of the pipeline.

President Trump actually has no power to authorize or “green light” these pipelines – the Keystone XL pipeline was already denied approval by the Obama administration in 2015, and the Army Corps of Engineers needs to conduct an environmental impact study on the Dakota Access Pipeline – and the memo largely just indicates Trump’s symbolic support for the pipelines, but his symbolic action leaves no doubt about how hostile his agenda is.

President Trump’s dual strategy is to extract and destroy more natural resources and further oppress and dispossess people of color. Not only will these pipelines accelerate climate change and pollute the air and water, but over the long-term, extraction will destroy the rural economy and rural jobs, while violating the treaty rights and human rights of indigenous people. Investment in local control of sustainable energy and ecological agriculture, through environmental justice, is the solution for rural economies; more extraction only makes the problem worse.

President Trump is betraying the trust of the American people and the mission of his office. He is endangering everyone on the planet and intensifying the oppression of indigenous people in the United States, and he is instead kowtowing to the agenda of the fossil fuel industry.

The #NoDAPL and #NoKXL movements, the Standing Rock Sioux and the water protectors, stopped these pipelines before, and they will again. As we have already seen with the Women’s March, Trump’s catastrophic agenda is only bringing us together in opposition and building the kind of people power we need to stop climate change and navigate one of the most critical times in human history.

ActionAid USA is in the fight.