President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed executive orders advancing the controversial Keystone XL (KXL) and Dakota Access (DAPL) pipelines, prompting a tsunami of outrage and vows of bold resistance from the Indigenous activists, climate campaigners, and countless others who have fought against these projects.
Many environmental groups who fiercely fought against both projects were quick to condemn the move, declaring, as 350.org did, “We have no alternative but to resist.”
350.org co-founder Bill McKibben issued a statement declaring the moment “a dark day for reason.”
“More people sent comments against Dakota Access and Keystone XL to the government than any project in history. The world’s climate scientists and its Nobel laureates explained over and over why it was unwise and immoral,” McKibben said. “In one of his first actions as president, Donald Trump ignores all that in his eagerness to serve the oil industry. It’s a dark day for reason, but we will continue the fight.”
“Trump clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing,” agreed 350.org executive director May Boeve. “Indigenous peoples, landowners, and climate activists did everything in our power to stop Keystone XL and Dakota Access, and we’ll do it again. These orders will only reignite the widespread grassroots opposition to these pipelines and other dirty energy projects. Trump is about to meet the fossil fuel resistance head on.”
“This is not a done deal,” McKibben added. “People will mobilize again.”
Progressive lawmakers and climate groups echoed that promise, issuing a chorus of statements condemning the president for “putting the profits of the fossil fuel industry ahead of the future of the planet.”
Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe:
President Trump is legally required to honor our treaty rights and provide a fair and reasonable pipeline process. Americans know this pipeline was unfairly rerouted towards our nation and without our consent. The existing pipeline route risks infringing on our treaty rights, contaminating our water and the water of 17 million Americans downstream.
By granting the easement, Trump is risking our treaty rights and water supply to benefit his wealthy contributors and friends at DAPL. We are not opposed to energy independence. We are opposed to reckless and politically motivated development projects, like DAPL, that ignore our treaty rights and risk our water. Creating a second Flint does not make America great again.
…Today, President Trump ignored the voices of millions and put the short-term profits of the fossil fuel industry ahead of the future of our planet.
At a time when the scientific community is virtually unanimous in telling us that climate change is real, it is caused by human activity and it is already causing devastating problems, we cannot afford to build new oil pipelines that lock us into burning fossil fuels for years to come. I will do everything I can to stop these pipelines and protect our planet for future generations.
Trip Van Noppen, president of Earthjustice, which is representing the Standing Rock Sioux:
Four days after taking the oath of office, and three days after millions across the country and world marched in protest of his administration, President Trump appears to be ignoring the law, public sentiment, and ethical considerations with this executive order aimed at resurrecting the long-rejected Keystone XL pipeline and circumventing the ongoing environmental review process for the highly controversial Dakota Access pipeline.
This move is legally questionable, at best. And based on what we know about Trump’s financial dealings in the Dakota Access pipeline, it raises serious ethical concerns. In the case of the Dakota Access pipeline, Trump’s actions are an affront to the Tribe and its Treaty rights especially since once again the tribes were not consulted before this action was taken.
He should brace himself to contend with the laws he is flouting, and the millions of Americans who are opposed to these dangerous and destructive projects. We will see his administration in court.
Tom BK Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network:
…Trump is portraying his true self by joining forces with the darkness of the Black Snake pipelines crossing across the culturally and environmentally rich landscape of the prairie lands of America.
These actions by President Trump are insane and extreme, and nothing short of attacks on our ancestral homelands as Indigenous peoples. The actions by the president today demonstrate that this Administration is more than willing to violate federal law that is meant to protect Indigenous rights, human rights, the environment and the overall safety of communities for the benefit of the fossil fuel industry.
These attacks will not be ignored, our resistance is stronger now than ever before and we are prepared to push back at any reckless decision made by this Administration. If Trump does not pull back from implementing these orders, it will only result in more massive mobilization and civil disobedience on a scale never seen of a newly seated President of the United States.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.):
The American people decisively rejected both the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone Pipeline. President Trump’s executive orders are a giveaway to the fossil fuel industry at the expense of our planet and its inhabitants.
At every turn, President Trump has shown his allegiance is with billionaires and Big Oil, not working families. We must resist this dangerous agenda and fight for the future of our planet.
Donald Trump has been in office for four days and he’s already proving to be the dangerous threat to our climate we feared he would be…
Trump claims he’s a good businessman, yet he’s encouraging dirty, dangerous tar sands development when clean energy is growing faster, producing more jobs, and has a real future. Trump claims he cares about the American people, but he’s allowing oil companies to steal and threaten their land by constructing dirty and dangerous pipelines through it. Trump claims he wants to protect people’s clean air and water, but he’s permitting a tar sand superhighway that will endanger both and hasten the climate crisis.
…Simply put, Donald Trump is who we thought he is: a person who will sell off Americans’ property and Tribal rights, clean air, and safe water to corporate polluters.
Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica:
Donald Trump has made it clear that his America does not include the millions of Americans who fought to protect our land, water, sacred cultural sites and climate from dangerous pipelines. Trump has emphatically pledged his allegiance to the oil companies and Wall Street banks that stand to profit from the destruction of public health and the environment.
The movement to defend Indigenous rights and keep fossil fuels in the ground is stronger than oil companies’ bottom line. Friends of the Earth and our allies will not give up the fight to stop Trump’s agenda and these destructive pipelines.
At a time when our country must be turning decisively away from polluting fossil fuels, Trump seeks to double-down on them, for the sake of enriching his billionaire friends and cabinet nominees who are deeply entrenched in the industry. The grassroots resistance to Trump’s agenda is already mobilizing from coast to coast, and our elected officials should take notice.
Trump’s war on the environment, the climate, and clean water protections is a war on all of us.
Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity:
Donald Trump is wasting no time in digging up two of the worst oil industry projects in the past decade and trying to rush them out the door. If it wasn’t clear before that Trump is acting at the behest of the oil industry, it certainly is now.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee:
Big oil and billionaires are running the White House. By pushing the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, Trump is siding with corporations and Wall Street over working families, ranchers, and indigenous communities. This is a disaster for ordinary Americans and a disaster for the environment.
Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action:
This move by the President is dangerous, reckless and heartless.
When the Army Corps of Engineers rejected a proposal from Energy Transfer Partners to drill under the Missouri River to build the Dakota Access pipeline, they did it because it would trample Tribal Rights, jeopardize critical water systems, and threaten the wellbeing of thousands of people across multiple states. The Keystone XL pipeline is just as problematic; its construction would seize land from local farmers, risk farming in the Great Plains, undermine clean air and safe water, and contribute to catastrophic climate change.
MoveOn members were proud to stand with the Standing Rock Sioux as well as people across Nebraska who have fought hard to oppose these dangerous and unnecessary pipelines that threatened their land and livelihoods. We are ready to stand with them again and expect the same of Democrats in Washington. This fight is just beginning.
Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program:
Trump’s decision to give the go-ahead for the Dakota Access Pipeline is a slap in the face to Native Americans and a blatant disregard for the rights to their land. By law, they are entitled to water rights and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, not sacrificed for political expediency and profit making. The Trump administration should allow careful environmental impact analysis to be completed with full and meaningful participation of affected tribes.
CREDO Action deputy political director Josh Nelson also noted that “fierce grassroots activism has stopped these pipelines over and over again,” while David Turnbull, campaigns director at Oil Change International declared the pipelines “will never be completed.”
“Both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines will never be completed, no matter what President Trump and his oil-soaked cabinet try to do,” Turnbull said. “Trump’s first days in office saw massive opposition, marking the beginning of four years of resistance to his dangerous policies. We stopped Keystone XL and Dakota Access before and we’ll do it again. These are fights Trump and his bullies won’t win.”
As Greenpeace executive director Annie Leonard said,
“A powerful alliance of Indigenous communities, ranchers, farmers, and climate activists stopped the Keystone and the Dakota Access pipelines the first time around, and the same alliances will come together to stop them again if Trump tries to raise them from the dead.”
“We all saw the incredible strength and courage of the water protectors at Standing Rock,” Leonard said, “and the people around the world who stood with them in solidarity. We’ll stand with them again if Trump tries to bring the Dakota Access Pipeline, or any other fossil fuel infrastructure project, back to life.”
“Instead of pushing bogus claims about the potential of pipelines to create jobs,” she continued, “Trump should focus his efforts on the clean energy sector where America’s future lives…Renewable energy is not only the future, but the only just economy for today. Keystone, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and fossil fuel infrastructure projects like them will only make billionaires richer and make the rest of us suffer.”
Leonard concluded with the promise, “We will resist this with all of our power and we will continue to build the future the world wants to see.”
As the news quickly spread, many took to Twitter to share their vows of resistance.