"Instead of pushing bogus claims about the potential of pipelines to create jobs, Trump should focus his efforts on the clean energy sector where America's future lives" Annie Leonard, Greenpeace Director
By: Ojaswee Chaudhary
As seen repeatedly in many issues today, government resistance can be an enormous hindrance while fighting for a cause. Additionally, the government has had a tendency to specifically resist indigenous rights and the protection of their environment, Trump’s pipeline case being a prime example of this degrading tendency. The Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines are two acts that have been or will be passed by the Trump administration. Though they claim the effects of these pipelines will be harmless, it’s clear to see, that in actuality, they will cause great harm to the environment and its inhabitants.
The Dakota Access pipeline and Keystone XL controversy was generated during the Obama administration, however it was quickly stopped and rerouted as authorities were aware of its damage. But, this Friday, Trump passed an executive order granting access for the Keystone XL Pipeline to be built. The pipelines are meant to allow oil to be transported in an easier, more efficient, and supposedly “environmentally friendly” way.
However, almost every stage of the pipelines being put in place will cause harm to the environment and the Native Americans living there. The damage caused by the Dakota Access and Keystone XL projects include endangering hundreds of different animals such as the whooping crane who have been flying into new power lines being used for the Keystone XL system. The pipelines also run through the homes of many species that are extremely close to becoming endangered once more, like the swift fox, and these pipelines might be all it takes to push them over.
As well as harming the wildlife, the pipelines will increase our dependency on fossil fuels, while we should be relying on completely opposite sources of energy. The State Department running the Keystone XL process claims it will have no new effects on greenhouse gas emission as even without the pipelines being built, oil will still be extracted from tar sands. However, the EPA challenged this allegation, stating that these pipelines will actually increase greenhouse gas emission; the State Department does not address the fact that the pipelines will make the oil extraction process faster, which will obviously create more greenhouse gases in the long run.
As well as the emissions, the area where the pipelines are being built will be completely demolished resulting in a mass number of trees being cut down. The Keystone XL location in the Nebraska sandhills is in itself a fragile ecosystem as the tar sand is acidic which will make the high pressure pipelines to be of even more harm, which was in fact proven by the previous oil spill in the existing Keystone lines.
In terms of the pipelines’ effects on the Standing Sioux tribe, water supply will be greatly contaminated and ancient monuments will be ruined. Additionally, the social impairments of the pipelines include threatened Native American sovereignty and loss of respect for the tribes. Becauses of this, the Standing Rock tribe, other indigenous groups, veterans, celebrities, and many common folk just like us have been fighting against this easement. They have attempted to reach out to the Trump administration through social media such as with the hashtag #NODAPL and through lawsuits, demonstrations, and civil disobedience.
The Trump administration has had ideas supporting the construction of the pipelines since the President’s campaign, disregarding the Tribe’s protests. Through his expedited, and supposedly scrutinizing review of the easement (the crossing of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe land), Trump, the Army Corps, and the Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) decided for the indigenous people in Dakota that it would not harm the tribe. He felt the Dakota Access and Keystone XL easements would do a few things:
Greenpeace director Annie Leonard summarizes this, stating "instead of pushing bogus claims about the potential of pipelines to create jobs, Trump should focus his efforts on the clean energy sector where America's future lives". We should be focusing on improving our current state of affairs regarding renewable energy sources that will have long-term benefits on all of humanity, instead of impulsively pushing for actions that will ultimately only benefit some groups of people.
Second, he believed the pipelines would transfer crude oil, apparently making domestic energy production more efficient. Extracting this oil would increase the US’s dependency on fossil fuels which completely defeats the purpose of making energy production more efficient. And, as stated before, oil spills are very probable and are likely to continue in the future, resulting in all the previous harms.
All these pipelines will ultimately do is cost the environment more than a fortune, further create long-lasting problems in the economy, and once again prove the irresponsible impulsiveness and lack of organization of today’s government. If Trump’s real goal genuinely is to better America, the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines are not the way to go.
"Pruitt would completely undermine the essence of the Environmental Protection Agency, and would be the last individual appointed to lead it... Right?"
By: Shreeya Indap
The current state of affairs of the American government is frankly shocking the entire nation and the rest of the world. Along with disorganized executive orders and blatant “alternative facts” spread in press meetings, there’s been a surprising, well not that surprising, increase in candidates simply unqualified for their jobs. This includes not having experience and, even worse, having ideologies that completely contradict the purpose of the department or agency they’ve been confirmed to lead.
Arguably one of the most important divisions in our government is the EPA, or Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA was created “for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress”. Essentially, this agency’s goal is to protect the environment at all costs, or watch the next generations suffer the consequences.
Since 1970, the EPA has worked with smaller scale reductions of harmful substances and enforcing acts or plans to cutback on detrimental environmental impacts. Along the most impactful of these have been:
Especially since 2009 till the end of Obama’s term, these actions have been vital for maintaining the current state of our environment and ensuring that more damage will not occur. In this day and age, preserving the environment is, or should be, one of our top priorities. The same conclusive data points have been repeated persistently by climate scientists and left-wing politicians, that climate change is a real, critical, and dangerous issue. But with the ties our current president and administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency’s party has with the oil and fossil fuel industry, it’s not surprising that they are in no hurry to acknowledge the problems caused by climate change.
Just like the majority of his fellow Republican politicians, Pruitt preaches the same narrative, that human impacts on climate change are “inconclusive” or “far from settled”. This is not the case. The global scientific consensus is that climate change is a factual and serious threat. The very conclusive, very settled evidence is that:
These facts are undeniable, yet some continue to persist that climate science is unsettled. This same “inconclusive” lie now being told about climate change is following the same pattern big tobacco did in the 1990’s. When a report was published exposing the long term harms of smoking and secondhand smoke, tobacco companies began to spread their propaganda, with the help of politicians, that these spokesmen couldn’t be trusted, were spreading irrational fear, and, of course, the results were “inconclusive”. The same techniques are now being utilized by oil and fossil fuel companies, to manipulate and exploit their customers, except this time, we’re all at stake.
It’s already widely known our current President’s viewpoint on the issue, and it’s a different- and dangerous perspective. “We'll be fine with the environment,” he said in a conversation about cutting the agency. And there’s no doubt that he undoubtedly believes this as when looking at Scott Pruitt, the newest EPA administrator, two main instances come up in discussing his possible influences.
First, the obvious. The very agency that Pruitt was confirmed to lead a month ago is the very agency he has sued 14 times, attempting to block regulations put into place by the Obama Administration. He has even called himself a “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.” To anyone possessing even the slightest bit of common sense, Pruitt would completely undermine the essence of the agency, and would be the last individual appointed to lead it.
There’s also a second aspect to Pruitt that would make one hesitant to confirm him, if the first reason wasn’t enough: his ties to the fossil fuel and oil industries. Since 2002, Pruitt has received more than $300,000 in contributions from the fossil fuel industry; this would include PACs connected to Exxon Mobil and Koch Industries. He’s been very friendly with Devon, as thousands of emails released have uncovered his close ties, such as, “Please find attached a short white paper with some talking points that you might find useful to cut and paste when encouraging states to file comments on the S.S.M. rule.” These rules he was attempting to weaken are the same rules he will now supervise.
It’s clear that Pruitt’s priorities in environmental science lie somewhere else. However, following the similar trend of Trump’s other picks who believe in the complete opposite of their department, he was, of course, confirmed by the Senate to lead the EPA. So, we’ll never know for certain whether what Pruitt says about the environment is really his actual opinion, or an oil company’s agenda he’s so ever in debt to. What is feared most is what someone like him holding such a high position of power will do for the agency.
First, Pruitt could possibly repeal many of the acts that he sued in the past. Examples of these would be the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which together, would prevent 18,000 to 46,000 premature deaths and save up to $380 billion in health care costs each year. Trump also wants to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement (where more than 190 countries pledged to stop the increase in the average global temperature to below 2 degrees) and Pruitt would be the vital playing card to make this happen.
Finally, Pruitt could prioritize the interests of his friends in the oil and fossil fuel industry when enacting new plans, which would put every citizen at risk for more sicknesses and disease.
The new administration has shown us the dangers of multiple commitments, showcased perfectly through the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Scott Pruitt, a climate denier in charge of protecting our environment and home, is just one example in many, but until we can get people who have not been heavily funded by other industries, our government will never take action for the causes that truly matter, especially the ones that will soon threaten our existence.
Registration is now up! Click here to sign up for the walkathon for only $15! Join the resistance to help save our planet, and have a fun time while you're at it!
With your money, you'll get a free shirt, snacks, pizza, and a good time! All the profits go to another nonprofit called Greenpeace which runs active research and projects around the world to help stop climate change, so you can rest assured your money is not going to waste!
Hello everyone! Dandilyonn will be hosting our first ever walkathon on April 30th at Lake Elizabeth in Fremont.
Just a little bit about our walkathon, why we will be walking, and why you should too! You probably know that the majority of our government doesn't believe that climate change is an issue worth fighting for, yet it is something that will greatly affect OUR generation if we don't do something about it. Many youth struggle to find a way to get involved and have their voice heard, and that is why WE WALK! To fight these injustices and raise awareness in our community about climate change.
Our goal is to bring our community together, in celebration of Earth Day and our planet, and show our President that we will continue to fight for our home!
Click "Interested" on our event page on Facebook to be notified when we post more details!