C: Joe Brusky

Donald Trump often says he speaks for those who cannot be heard and he stands up for rural America.

But as large parts of rural America are in crisis, due to flooding caused by climate change, what does Trump do?

On Friday, Trump issued a new presidential permit to try and push the highly controversial Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline, which will exacerbate climate change.

The decree signed by Trump on Friday outlined:

By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States of America, I hereby grant permission, subject to the conditions herein set forth, to TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P to construct, connect, operate, and maintain pipeline facilities at the international border of the United States and Canada at Phillips County, Montana, for the import of oil from Canada to the United States.

The Hill and many other newspapers noted that the surreptitious move by Trump was a way to effectively try and circumvent a previous court order halting development of KXL by a Montana judge.

The judge had ruled that the Trump Administration had failed to adequately address the pipeline’s environmental impact.

The reaction, as you can imagine from environmental organizations, who have spent years fighting the pipeline, was brutal:

As OCI tweeted: The Trump administration is at it again. Trump’s latest scheme to push the dangerous #KeystoneXL pipeline through just won’t work. #KXL is a climate disaster and we stand with impacted communities, pipeline fighters, & water protectors against this harmful project. #NoKXL

“This is a ridiculous attempt by Trump to skirt due process to benefit an oil corporation,” added 350.org Executive Director, May Boeve.

What is more stunning is that Trump’s Presidential move comes as the Mid-West is still reeling from historic flooding, something I blogged about last Friday.

It is worth re-visiting some of those numbers of people, land and livestock affected. On Friday, the day the Trump signed the decree, Reuters reported that satellite data revealed that at least one million acres of farmland had been flooded after the historic rains, which left “nine major grain producing states under water this month”.

Firstly, this has hit the amount of land that can be planted this year. “There’s thousands of acres that won’t be able to be planted,” said one Nebraskan farmer, Ryan Sonderup.

It has also devastated livestock. Agriculture Secretary, Sunny Purdue, has also been reported as conceeding that there “may be as many as a million calves lost in Nebraska” alone.

And as I blogged on Friday, the National Ground Water Association estimates that one million private wells could also be at risk of contamination due to the flooding.

So that is at least one million acres of farmland under water, one million wells at risk and one million calves lost, due to the floods. This is climate change in action. How much more evidence does Trump need before he realizes there is a climate crisis going on?

Meanwhile, he ignores the science and he ignores the evidence, he also ignores the concerns of rural America. He just wants us to carry on drilling. All for his pals in the oil industry.

For more on the KXL, read this OCI briefing paper from last year.

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