Whew. This is a tough one to write. On one hand, it’s good for the industry, jobs, and making us energy independent. On the other hand, well, it’s Trump.
I’ve had a knot in my stomach since the election, and it keeps getting worse every day that passes with distractions like disputing the election which he won. As Seth Meyers put it, “it’s like the winners of the Super Bowl complaining about a pass interference call in the first quarter.”
But, back to the pipeline. As I’m sure you know by now, President Trump moved the two controversial pipeline projects forward by signing a pair of executive actions that could speed up approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access projects.
Trump said his action would create new jobs in the United States, and that the pipelines should be built with US steel and labor (something he apparently didn’t do with his own hotels, but I digress).
The Keystone XL pipeline, in my opinion, is a good thing. I have been in favor of it since way back in the Obama days (remember him?) For the most part, the pipeline is complete and has been in operation for a long time. It’s just a small section that has everyone up in arms. It’s the Dakota Access pipeline that still gives me some reservations (no pun intended).
Even though the pipeline itself does not run through the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, it’s close enough to their water supply and sacred burial grounds that it has caused very large protests and lawsuits. It seems to me, and I’m not an engineer or geologist, that moving the pipeline a few miles in a different direction would satisfy the tribe, still create jobs, let oil flow, and then we can all sit down and sing Kumbaya. But, lawsuits and protests notwithstanding, it does not appear that Mr. Trump wants that to happen. It’s “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” in typical Trumpian manner.
“We will build our own pipeline, we will build our own pipes, like we used to, in the old days,” Trump said as he signed the Executive Order.
He also said that he wanted to renegotiate terms with the pipelines’ developers. Those terms may include some way for the United States government to get a financial cut from Keystone, something Trump talked about during the campaign.
In my opinion, why not let the money flow to the oil companies, their shareholders, perhaps the tribe, and the states involved? Why does the Federal Government have to make a profit on this? Trump campaigned on less government. But he’s also used to making a buck (or in the case of his casinos, lose a buck) on anything he gets involved in. That, in my opinion, is the downside of running the government like a business. Energy companies are going to be the ones running the pipelines, let them enjoy the fruits of their labor without giving the government a cut (read: taxes).
As for the jobs part of it, NPR reported that while it indeed will create about 2,500 jobs during the construction phases (of both the XL and Dakota), these are temporary contract jobs. The actual number of permanent new, never-before-existing jobs is about a dozen. But no doubt you’ll be hearing our bragger-in-chief take full credit for the huuuge amount of jobs.
Finally, let me make one thing clear. The resurgence of American oil, new drilling techniques, reasonable prices, and putting oil workers back to work had nothing to do with the President. Not Obama, not Bush, and not Trump. The success of the industry is thanks to the industry itself. We don’t pat ourselves on the back too often, but we should. The oil flowing through pipelines across this great land is thanks to the men and women of our industry who get their hands dirty every single day. It’s time they get some kudos for it.
But you better do it quickly before someone else grabs your kudos.