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December 2016: DAPL and Keystone XL

​On December 4, 2016, Native Americans and environmentalists around the United States rejoiced: the Army Corps of Engineers, the organization in charge of building the North Dakota Access Pipeline, discontinued the construction of the controversial infrastructure. However, President Trump, on January 24, 2017, granted permission for construction of both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines.

The president's actions started the debate over the pipelines once again: advocates of the pipelines stating that the pipelines will lead to more jobs and a better economy, while opposition argued that the pipelines will lead to a downfall of the environment in many areas.

Mr. Trump said the Keystone XL pipeline will mean "a lot of jobs, 28,000 construction jobs, great construction jobs”. In a statement the Keystone XL Pipeline owner TransCanada said that they "appreciate [Trump] inviting [them] to re-apply for [the pipeline]. We are currently preparing the application and intend to do so.” Trump also signed an order that both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines will be built with American materials. Trump and other advocates for the pipeline claim that building the pipelines will improve the economy by creating jobs and using American materials. As Trump believes, “[America] can't be in an environmental process for 15 years if a bridge is going to be falling down or if a highway is crumbling”.

However, the reactions from opposition was swift. Senator Bernie Sanders stated that Trump's actions to advance the pipelines will "put the short-term profits of the fossil fuel industry ahead of the future of our planet”. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which protested the Dakota Access pipeline, quickly said it will take legal action to fight Trump's decision, saying the pipelines “[risk] contaminating tribal and American water supplies while disregarding treaty rights.”

These conflicts signify a battle between Republicans and Democrats, the economy and the environment, short-term world and long-term world. While the pipelines will be a hot topic in the next few months, it is only a microcosm of these clashes throughout the future of our world.

#PatrickKim #DAPL #KeystoneXL

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