Canada has given a thumbs up to President Donald Trumps decision to advance the construction of two controversial oil pipelines.
Despite environmental opposition, Trump has issued orders paving the way for their revival; one called Keystone XL would bring oil from Canadian oil sands, across six US states including Nebraska, to refineries on the US’s Gulf coast.
Signing orders to move forward with the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines in the Oval Office. pic.twitter.com/OErGmbBvYK— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2017
Obama cancelled the Keystone project in late 2015 after environmentalists campaigned against the project for more than seven years. “America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change, and frankly, approving this project would have undercut that leadership,” he said at the time.
Stressing that the pipeline would allow for safe oil delivery and that his government had plans to protect the environment, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Calgary said he was supportive of President Trump’s action.
“In both the conversations I’ve had with president Trump now, Keystone XL came up as a topic and I reiterated my support for the project. I’ve been on the record for many years supporting it because it leads to economic growth and good jobs for Albertans.”
The second pipeline is known as Dakota Access. It is a project that would transport crude oil from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose reservation is adjacent to the pipeline, staged protests that drew thousands of climate change activists to the rural area of Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Most of the pipeline was complete by last summer except for a small section under Lake Oahe, a reservoir that forms part of the river.
The Sioux won a significant victory late last year when the US army corps of engineers declined to allow construction of the pipeline under the lake, saying alternative routes needed to be considered.
Both Keystone and Dakota Access, have drawn protests from environmentalists.
The projects had been stalled under former President Barack Obama and as Trump signed his new orders several groups said they would mount a legal challenge.