The Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines got a green light for completion.
President Donald Trump signed executive orders in approval of the controversial oil pipelines on Tuesday, noting that these pipelines are a catalyst for economic growth in their respective regions. The pipelines have long been a topic of debate for environmental activists, and the completion of the projects were shut down during former President Obama’s last year in office.
However, that all just changed. The majority of the Dakota Access pipeline has been built, but the last section which is located in the controversial Standing Rock Sioux region is the missing link. Since that section of the pipeline would run through Lake Oahe, the pipeline’s potential to contaminate the water worries locals.
More specifically, the Standing Rock Sioux Native American tribe are concerned and have lead protests against the pipeline. They tribe cites the potential contamination their drinking water and disrespect of their sacred grounds as reasons to halt construction.
The aforementioned concerns flooded mainstream and social media in 2015, but with a new president has come a new agenda.
Having gone from over 10,000 protesters at the height of the opposition to mere hundreds now, pipeline protesters faded upon former President Obama’s decision to halt construction. What the protesters didn’t foresee, however, is now-President Trump’s prioritization of American economic growth.
Trump claimed that construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines will create 28,000 jobs. The projects are considered to be major factors not only in construction, but energy independence for the United States.
However, critics question the numbers.
In 2011, Pipeline owner TransCanada said that the Keystone XL would create 20,000 jobs strictly pertaining to pipeline construction and maintenance. They supplemented that jobs figure with 118,000 jobs being indirectly created thereafter construction beginning.
Three years later, in 2014, the U.S. State Department estimated an approximate job creation total of 42,000.
Said jobs are estimated to be one year contracts, and therefore would only have a temporary impact on the economy. Permanent job growth for the pipelines in the low hundreds.
Inconsistency in the jobs figures have raised even more red flags for critics, who are already concerned about the pipeline's’ potential to hurt the environment. Moreover, financial disclosures reveal the President held stock in the pipeline construction company Energy Transfer Partners up until mid-2016.
The company’s chief executive Kelcy Warren donated the Trump campaign.
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