A Complete Disregard for Democracy: Greenpeace Condemns Trump’s Move on Pipelines & Silencing of EPA


AMY GOODMAN: Democracy Now!, democracynow.org,
The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. In addition to issuing presidential memos
to revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, President Trump and his team
have taken several other actions that have alarmed environmentalists. All references to climate change have been
removed from the White House website. Reuters is reporting the Environmental Protection
Agency has also been ordered to remove its climate change page, which contains links
to scientific global warming research as well as detailed data on emissions. The EPA has also been prohibited from issuing
press releases, publishing blog updates or even posting information on social media. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention has abruptly canceled a major conference on climate change and public health. Joining us now from Berkeley, California,
is Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA. Annie, as we wrap up this show, can you talk
about the executive actions on Dakota Access pipeline, Keystone XL, and all of what we’re
seeing right now in the new Trump administration? ANNIE LEONARD: Absolutely. You know, I’m actually very worried. I’ve been an environment activist for about
a quarter of a century, and there have been many uphill battles. But in the past, we were operating within
a framework where there was some respect for democracy, some respect for science, a stronger
grasp on reality than President Trump is indicating. His actions yesterday, both on the pipelines
as well as trying to muzzle the Environmental Protection Agency, demonstrate a complete
disregard for indigenous treaty rights, a complete disregard for environmental laws—that
executive orders and memoranda don’t change; those pipelines still have to go through NEPA,
through the Clean Water Act—a complete disregard for democracy. Millions and millions of people have voiced
opposition to these pipelines. But perhaps most troubling is a complete disconnect
from reality. The vast majority of the world’s scientists
say that 80 percent of remaining oils needs to stay underground. The last thing we should be doing is investing
in more pipeline. It’s terrifying that he thinks this is an
appropriate direction to move our country in. AMY GOODMAN: And the argument he makes that
this means more jobs? ANNIE LEONARD: Well, this is one of the few
things I do agree with President Trump on, is that we need more jobs. But we need sustainable, healthy and safe
jobs. And the real way to get long-term meaningful
jobs is through the transition to clean energy, whether it’s retrofitting buildings to be
more energy efficient, whether it’s building actual infrastructure for clean energy. There is an almost infinite number of healthy,
sustainable, good jobs available, and that’s where we need to be investing in for this
much-needed jobs delivery. AMY GOODMAN: You said in your statement, the
Greenpeace statement, “A powerful alliance of Indigenous communities, ranchers, farmers,
and climate activists stopped the Keystone and the Dakota Access pipelines the first
time around.” Protests have broken out all over the country
right now around resumption of this. What do you feel the protest movement needs
to do? And what does President Trump need to actually
push these pipelines through? ANNIE LEONARD: You know, I’m not sure there’s
anything that President Trump could do to actually push these pipelines through, because
in addition to actual laws and environmental impact statements, there’s all of us. There are people. The word that I’m hearing more than any
other these days is “resistance.” Actually, the second one would be “unity.” All across the country, indigenous groups,
climate groups, farmers’ groups, labor groups—all these different people are coming together
and saying, “We will resist. We are not going to go away quietly. We’re actually not going to go away. We’re going to fight with everything we
have, because what’s at stake really is everything that we love. It’s our democracy. It’s water. It’s our multicultural communities. We’re not giving up. We’re not going away. We’re going to resist.” AMY GOODMAN: Finally, it seems very likely
that Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, will be the next secretary of state, already approved
by the committee, now the full Senate vote. Your response? ANNIE LEONARD: You know, for a long time,
we have fought against or been very concerned about the influence of fossil fuel money in
our democracy. This appointment is just stunning in terms
of an absolute, complete merger with our government and the biggest fossil fuel industries in
the country. It just shows that the onus on making sure
that things are handled appropriately is now on the people. More than ever before, we need to be awake,
we need to be alert, and we need to be involved. AMY GOODMAN: Annie Leonard, I want to thank
you very much for being with us, executive director of Greenpeace USA.

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