US President Donald Trump today revived two oil pipeline projects blocked by his predecessor on environmental grounds, signalling his determination to undo Barack Obama’s legacy. Trump gave a conditional go-ahead to the Keystone XL pipeline which would carry oil from Canadian tar sands to US refineries on the Gulf Coast and an equally controversial pipeline crossing in North Dakota.
Both had been put on hold by president Barack Obama’s administration on environmental grounds. Since being sworn in on Friday Trump has begun rolling out an orthodox Republican agenda. He has moved to curb funding for abortions, embraced Israel, frozen government hiring and sought to loosen environmental regulations.
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His administration has also sought to place a tighter grip on departments that may not be sympathetic to his politics.
On day one, his Interior Department ordered staff to report any correspondence from Congress, governors, environmental groups or industry organisations, according to an internal memo obtained by AFP. Certain meetings, regulations and environmental notices are also to be reported to the department’s executive secretariat.
“No correspondence should be cleared to go to Congress or to any Governor until it has been reviewed by the Acting Chief of Staff and/or Senior White House Advisor,” the document states. Trump has also bucked orthodoxy and sought to put his nationalist and populist print on policy, especially on the economy and trade.
True to his claim to be a hard-charging dealmaker, Trump said both pipeline projects would only be built subject to renegotiated terms and conditions. “It is subject to a renegotiation of terms, by us,” Trump said. “We are going to renegotiate some of the terms and, if they like, we’ll see if we can get that pipeline built.”
The freshly minted president indicated that one possible focus of the renegotiation could be who makes the actual piping. In a separate executive order issued Tuesday, Trump decreed that pipes should be American made — echoing his “America First” doctrine.
“I am very insistent that if we are going to build pipelines in the United States the pipes should be made in the United States,” Trump said. “We want to build the pipe, put a lot of steel workers back to work.” Most, although not all, oil pipelines are buried underground and made of carbon steel.