Tag Archives: Trump

Trump not planning to ship Native Americans to India

This article was originally published by The Associated Press.

President Donald Trump never proposed sending the U.S. population of about 3 million American Indians “back” to India, as a satirical news site claimed in a piece with fabricated tweets attributed to the president.

The Postillon’s story says Trump seeks to improve national security and was to sign an executive order to deport the country’s Native Americans. The story claimed Trump consulted with members of his administration and learned Native Americans don’t have “relevant immigration documents”. It attributes quotes Trump never said to Fox News, and fabricates two tweets from Feb. 13, 2017, about the issue that were never sent from the president’s account.

The piece is illustrated with a photo of Trump speaking last year to troops while visiting U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. The president did call at that event for more stringent screening to keep out those who “want to destroy us and destroy our country.” He said nothing about American Indians, the earliest settlers in North America. Native Americans were granted U.S. citizenship in 1924.


This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.


Trump Orders Review of National Monuments to Allow Development

U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order reviewing previous National Monument designations made under the Antiquities Act, at the Interior Department in Washington, U.S., April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Staff | Reuters – Apr 26, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to allow national monument designations to be rescinded or reduce the size of sites as the administration pushes to open up more federal land to drilling, mining and other development.

Trump’s order is part of an effort to reverse many of the environmental protections implemented by his predecessor, Democratic President Barack Obama that Trump said were hobbling economic growth. Trump’s agenda is being cheered by industry but enraging conservationists.

Legal challenges are expected because no president has ever rescinded a monument designation.

In announcing the order on Wednesday Republican Trump said Obama’s use of the 1906 Antiquities Act to create monuments was an “egregious abuse of federal power” that allowed the federal government to “lock up” millions of acres of land and water.

The Antiquities Act gives a president the authority to create national monuments from federal lands to protect significant natural, cultural, or scientific features.

“Today we’re putting the states back in charge,” Trump said, adding that they should decide which land is protected and which is open for development.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters late Tuesday the order requires him to review about 30 national monuments created over the past two decades, and recommend which designations should be lifted or altered.

The monuments covered under the review will range from the Grand Staircase created by President Bill Clinton in 1996 to the Bears Ears created by Obama in December 2016, both in Utah.

FILE PHOTO: Bears Ears, the twin rock formations in Utah’s Four Corners region is pictured in Utah, U.S. December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Annie Knox

Zinke said he will seek local feedback before making recommendations, adding that reversing a monument designation could be tricky.

“It is untested, as you know, whether the president can do that,” Zinke said.

President Woodrow Wilson reduced the size of Washington state’s Mount Olympus National Monument in 1915, arguing there was an urgent need for timber at the time.

Zinke said he will review the Bears Ears monument first and make a recommendation to the president in 45 days. He has 120 days to issue a full report on all monuments to the president. Bears Ears protects Native American cultural heritage and sacred sites.

Obama created the Bears Ears monument in the final days of his administration. Utah’s governor and the state’s congressional delegation opposed the designation, saying it was done against the wishes of citizens eager for development.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert, and Senators Mike Lee and Orin Hatch, all Republicans, stood beside Trump as he signed the order. Trump said the lawmakers lobbied him for the order.

Bears Ears is near where Texas-based EOG Resources Inc has been approved to drill.

Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan praised the order.

“I commend the Trump administration for stopping this cycle of executive abuse and beginning a review of past designations,” he said.

Conservation and tribal groups were critical.

“With this review, the Trump Administration is walking into a legal, political and moral mine field,” said Kate Kelly, public lands director for the Center for American Progress.

Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva of Arizona, ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, warned Zinke not to make an “ideological” decision. He said previous monuments were decided “after years of close federal consultation with multiple local stakeholders.”

The five Native American tribes that pushed to create the Bears Ears monument to protect ancestral land said they will fight to protect it.

The Outdoor Industry Association, the trade group of the recreation industry, also attacked the order.

The group has estimated the outdoor recreation economy generates over $887 billion in consumer spending and creates 7.6 million jobs.

“Less than 24 hours after joining with our industry to celebrate the economic power of outdoor recreation, in a hypocritical move, the Trump administration took unprecedented steps that could result in the removal of protections for treasured public lands,” said Rose Marcario, chief executive of outdoor gear retailer Patagonia.

On Friday, before the close of Trump’s first 100 days in office, he is expected to sign an executive order that would review offshore areas available for offshore oil and gas exploration that have been restricted by previous presidents.

(This version of the story has been refiled to delete extraneous text in paragraph 17)

(Editing by Phil Berlowitz, Jonathan Oatis and Jeffrey Benkoe)


Trump Greenlights Keystone XL Pipeline From Canada, But Obstacles Could Delay Project

US President Donald Trump has approved a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline, clearing the way for the $8 billion project. Photo: AP

Reuters | March 25, 2017

US President Donald Trump’s administration approved TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, cheering the oil industry and angering environmentalists even as further hurdles for the controversial project loom.

The approval reverses a decision by former President Barack Obama to reject the project, but the company still needs to win financing, acquire local permits, and fend off likely legal challenges for the pipeline to be built.

“TransCanada will finally be allowed to complete this long-overdue project with efficiency and with speed,” Trump said in the Oval Office before turning to ask TransCanada Chief Executive Officer Russell Girling when construction would start.

“We’ve got some work to do in Nebraska to get our permits there,” Girling replied.

“Nebraska?” Trump said. “I’ll call Nebraska.”

Trump announced the presidential permit for Keystone XL at the White House with Girling and Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions, standing nearby. He said the project would lower consumer fuel prices, create jobs and reduce US dependence on foreign oil.

The pipeline linking Canadian oil sands to US refiners had been blocked by Obama, who said it would do nothing to reduce fuel prices for US motorists and would contribute to emissions linked to global warming.

Trump, however, campaigned on a promise to approve it, and he signed an executive order soon after taking office in January to advance the project.

TransCanada’s US-listed shares dipped 5 cents to close at $46.21 on Friday.

Trump has claimed the project would create 28,000 jobs in the United States. But a 2014 State Department study predicted just 3,900 construction jobs and 35 permanent jobs.

The president said he would get in touch with Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts later in the day.

TransCanada applied to the Nebraska Public Service Commission in February for approval of the pipeline’s route through the state. The company said it expects that process to conclude this year.

Ricketts said in a statement posted on Twitter that the project would help his state.

“I have full confidence that the Public Service Commission will conduct a thorough and fair review of the application,” he said.

The White House has said the pipeline is exempt from a Trump executive order requiring new pipelines to be made from US steel, because much of the pipe for the project has already been built and stockpiled.

Environmental groups vowed to fight it.

Greenpeace said it would pressure banks to withhold financing for the multibillion-dollar project, and others said they would fight the pipeline in court.

“We’ll use every tool in the kit,” said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defence Council.

Since Obama had nixed the pipeline based on an environmental assessment commissioned by the State Department in early 2014, opponents will likely argue in court that Trump cannot reverse the decision without conducting a new assessment.

Fred Jauss, partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney and a former attorney with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said local permitting would also be a challenge.

“The Presidential Permit is only one part of a web of federal, state, and local permits that must be obtained prior to starting construction,” he said.

“Other federal agencies, such as the Army Corps of Engineers, state regulatory commissions, and even local planning boards may have requirements that need to be fulfilled by Keystone prior to construction.”

“In addition, TransCanada may still need to reach deals with hundreds of potentially affected landowners on the pipeline’s route. There is a lot of work ahead for TransCanada.”

The Keystone Steele City pumping station, into which the planned Keystone XL pipeline is to connect to, is seen in Steele City, Nebraska. Photo: AP

The Keystone XL pipeline would bring more than 800,000 barrels per day of heavy crude from Canada’s oil sands in Alberta into Nebraska, linking to an existing pipeline network feeding U.S. refineries and ports along the Gulf of Mexico.

The project could be a boon for Canada, which has struggled to bring its vast oil reserves to market.

“Our government has always been supportive of the Keystone XL pipeline and we are pleased with the US decision,” said a spokesman for Canada’s minister of natural resources. “The importance of a common, continental energy market cannot be overstated.”

The president of the American Petroleum Institute, Jack Gerard, said the approval was “welcome news” and would bolster US energy security.

Expedited approval of projects is part of Trump’s approach to a 10-year, $1 trillion infrastructure package he promised on the campaign trail. The White House is looking for ways to speed up approvals and permits for other infrastructure projects, which can sometimes take years to go through a regulatory maze.

TransCanada tried for more than five years to build the 1,897-km pipeline, until Obama rejected it in 2015. The company resubmitted its application for the project in January, after Trump signed the executive order smoothing its path.



Veterans Throw Support Behind Standing Rock Protesters After Trump Signs Dakota Access Pipeline Memo

US veterans and Native Americans hold flags on the road near Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Native Americans and activists from around the country have gathered at the camp to try to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

US veterans and Native Americans hold flags on the road near Oceti Sakowin Camp on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on December 4, 2016 outside Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Native Americans and activists from around the country have gathered at the camp to try to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Veterans Stand launched a GoFundMe last week to raise $500,000 to support Standing Rock protesters. It has raised about $19,000 in two days.

By |

A U.S. military veterans group announced new efforts to support the Standing Rock Native American tribe and protesters who oppose completion of the Dakota Access pipeline, just days after President Donald Trump took action to move the project forward.

Those efforts include developing the capability to deploy thousands of veteran volunteers to Standing Rock, potentially putting the White House in a politically difficult position. They come as tensions have escalated between protesters and law officers in recent weeks.

Veterans Stand launched a fundraising drive on GoFundMe last week to support a network of protesters camped out near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. It seeks to raise $500,000 to buy supplies for campers, provide car rides for volunteers and create a rapid response ability. It has raised about $19,000 in two days.

“The 4,000 could have easily turned into 20,000, because that’s how we’re trained to operate.”-Anthony Diggs, communications director, Veterans Stand

“We stand in unity with our brothers and sisters in Standing Rock (and beyond) and our community is ready to mobilize,” the group said on the GoFundMe page.

About 4,000 veterans traveled to the reservation in North Dakota last month to support the protest by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, environmentalists and other activists, according to figures provided by Veterans Stand.

The Standing Rock Sioux oppose completion of Energy Transfer Partners‘ Dakota Access pipeline because it would pass beneath a source for the tribe’s drinking water and construction would disrupt sacred land, they say.

Dakota Access pipeline route, source: Energy Transfer Partners

The project, which would deliver oil from North Dakota to Illinois, is nearly complete except for a small portion about half a mile north of the reservation. That stretch requires an easement from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Protesters won a temporary victory under former President Barack Obama when the Corps denied the easement. The Corps launched a new environmental impact study with the goal of identifying new routes for the pipeline — an option Energy Transfer Partners said it would not consider.

Problems for Trump

Anthony Diggs, communications director for Veterans Stand, said the new campaign is motivated in part by Trump’s presidential memo ordering the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite its environmental review and consider other actions that would pave the way for the project’s approval.

The group’s ongoing support sets up a potential confrontation between veterans and an outspoken president who frequently praises the military but rarely holds back when challenged.

Trump suffered backlash during the presidential campaign after he made disparaging comments about Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Pakistani-American parents of a fallen U.S. soldier. The couple spoke out against Trump’s policies, including a ban on Muslim immigration to the United States.

The president ignored a reporter’s request to make a statement to the Standing Rock community after signing the presidential memo. White House press secretary Sean Spicer later said Trump would speak to all parties involved.


The presence of veterans among protesters has a potent effect, Diggs said. Energy Transfer Partners, the government and local authorities knew it would be a public relations disaster “if they had veterans standing in solidarity in peaceful protest being fired upon with rubber bullets on live TV.”

Veterans Stand is focusing on delivering aid to protesters remaining at the camp, and will hold off on deploying volunteers so the group can avoid complicating logistics or stretching resources, Diggs said. The decision to send more volunteers will be made with tribal leaders, he added.

“We still have people on the ground out there, but we want to make sure we’re going out there in service,” he said.

Still, Diggs said the veterans group has the ability to rapidly scale up its presence if necessary.

“The 4,000 could have easily turned into 20,000, because that’s how we’re trained to operate,” he said, referring to the December deployment of volunteers.

Tensions escalate

Veterans Stand said it was also taking new steps because “turmoil and uncertainty at Standing Rock has increased significantly” in the last two weeks.

Diggs said an escalation took place this month after the Morton County Sheriff’s Department and private security firms began moving to clear protest camps.

Rob Keller, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department, said authorities had not tried to remove protesters. Instead, sheriffs and National Guard troops responded to the actions of some of the camp’s more militant activists.

Those people recently cut wire blocking access to a contested bridge and a fence along the Missouri River, and attempted to reach a drill pad for the Dakota Access pipeline located on private property, he said.

The incident in question began on the afternoon of Jan. 16 and escalated over three nights, with protesters throwing projectiles at officers and flanking the sheriffs’ position in a tactical, intimidating manner, according Keller.

The department arrested 21 people on various charges, including inciting a riot and resisting arrest. It reported firing bean bag and foam rubber rounds at protesters and using pepper spray and smoke canisters to disperse the crowd.

The department wants to remove protesters from the camps because forecasts for flooding in the area in coming months make it critical to haul away abandoned cars and clean up the site, Keller said. Flooding could wash waste into the Missouri River after months of protests that at times attracted thousands, he added.


Mexico ‘Stunned’ After Trump Approves Border Wall

Staff | Torstar, Jan 25 2017

Fear and humiliation turned to anger and betrayal Wednesday in Mexico, as U.S. President Donald Trump made good on his campaign threats against a neighbour and ally of nearly 100 years.

Trump signed two executive orders Wednesday, the first authorizing the construction of his promised wall along the Mexican border, and the second blocking federal grants to so-called sanctuary cities that don’t arrest illegal immigrants. The orders also call for 10,000 additional immigration officers and 5,000 Border Patrol agents.

The move, which is a dramatic shift in U.S. immigration policy, was not unexpected, but the timing caught Mexico off guard, coming just days before President Enrique Pena Nieto is due to meet Trump at the White House.

“We are stunned,” said Agustin Barrios Gomez, a former Mexican congressman and co-chair for North America of the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations. “There is a consensus building that we don’t want to negotiate under threat. American national security and prosperity directly depend on a stable and co-operative Mexico.”

Mexicans across the political spectrum called for Pena, who has never agreed to pay for the wall, to cancel his Jan. 31 visit. So far the leader, whose approval ratings are below 25 per cent, has opted for conciliation over confrontation.

Trump’s orders give the Department of Homeland Security six months to deliver a report detailing how to build the wall, which will be initially funded by money from Congress.

Trump continues to insist Mexico will repay the estimated $8-billion cost of the 1,600-kilometre wall through a variety of means, including increasing fees on visa applications, charging more for border crossing cards and/or taxing remittances of Mexican Americans.

The second order broadens the definition of who immigration agents can apprehend and deport within the U.S., allowing agents to adopt a broader definition of “criminal.”

Although Pena didn’t officially respond Wednesday, top-ranking officials threatened to pull out of negotiations over the reworking of the North American Free Trade Agreement if Trump continues to insist Mexico fund the wall project.

“There are very clear red lines that have to be drawn,” Ildefonso Guajardo, secretary of the economy, told Televisa on Tuesday. It’s a question of respecting sovereignty.” Guajardo travelled to Washington on Wednesday with Mexico’s foreign minister.

Vicente Fox, a former Mexican president, was more forthright, tweeting to Trump’s press secretary: “Sean Spicer, I’ve said this to @realDonaldTrump and now I’ll tell you: Mexico is not going to pay for that f—ing wall.”

Jorge Castaneda, a former foreign minister, told the New York Times: “It’s like we are Charlie Brown and they are Lucy with the football. Pena is a weak president in a weak country at a weak moment, but he has to find a way to get some official backbone.”

The U.S. may have as much to lose as Mexico if the countries stop co-operating on trade and national security, including drug smuggling and migration.

NAFTA, which includes Canada, is the world’s largest trade agreement and the region is an interdependent global supply chain where parts often cross borders several times while products are assembled. More than six million jobs in the U.S. depend on Mexico. Fully 40 cents of every dollar the U.S. imports from Mexico comes from content produced in America.

Mexico would have liked to present a common front with Canada in any NAFTA renegotiations, but that is unlikely to happen, say experts. Canada does not share the same border and security issues.

“Canada doesn’t see common cause with Mexico and has a long history of looking out for itself,” noted Ted Alden, a trade expert with the Council on Foreign Relations and author of Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy.

Canada also does not have a trade surplus with the U.S., while Mexico does.

Trump has not clearly explained how tearing up NAFTA will create jobs. Although some manufacturing jobs were lost to free trade, many were eliminated because of automation and improved productivity.

The U.S. should have focused more on retraining workers, cutting corporate taxes, investing in infrastructure and helping workers hurt by import competition, Alden said.