A key campaign promise of Donald Trump appears to be close to coming to fruition as one of the last major obstacles to the Keystone XL pipeline was overcome.
The Keystone XL Pipeline is a 1,200-mile pipeline running from the Oil Fields of Alberta Canada to Nebraska. If completed it could carry over 800,00 barrels of oil every single day. The planned pipeline is privately funded, this means that no Federal money goes into its construction. It was approved by Canadian authorities in March 2010, however, the administration of Barack Obama blocked the building of the US section of the pipeline. He did this citing environmental concerns, saying that the economic benefits did not outweigh the potential environmental damage that the building and operation of the pipeline might cause.
However, during his campaign, Donald Trump promised to give authorisation to the pipeline as soon as he became President – he did so days after taking the oath of office. Trump’s reasons for authorising the pipeline are manifold. Firstly, Trump has promised to bring jobs back to America. During his campaign he promised to be the greatest “jobs President” that America has ever seen. The building of the pipeline is estimated to create around 30,000 construction jobs with other jobs likely to be created when the pipeline is finished. Secondly, Trump is an open critic of government decisions that interfere with the free market. For Trump, as a privately funded initiative, the federal government should not be interfering with the decision-making process – it should be down to the states alone. Finally, Trump’s decisions of environmental issues since becoming President have been in stark contrast to his predecessor. He promised to make America a world leader again in fossil fuel extraction, like coal. He appointed Scott Pruitt as Environmental Protection Administrator. Perhaps Pruitt’s most controversial position is that he rejects that human action is the prime cause of climate change. Trump has also threatened to withdraw the United States from the international Paris Climate Change agreement of 2015 to ensure that global temperatures rise by less than 2 degrees this century.
Last Monday, the State of Nebraska confirmed that the project can go forward – Nebraska was the last state to need to ratify the decision.