The first weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency have produced a host of unwelcome news, from the revival of Big Oil darlings Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines to the ban on immigrants from seven countries to right-wing cabinet nominees. On February 1 the Senate confirmed ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. And that’s just the latest in a steady stream of assaults on environmental values.
Ties to Big Oil, Favors for Big Oil
It’s enough to make your head spin. But what if all the bad news is related, and not just because it comes from Trump’s White House? This opinion piece from the Guardian says that the president’s most vexing policies all stem from his connections to Big Oil. Keystone and Dakota Access are really just the beginning. Dig a little deeper and the links aren’t hard to see: the attacks on the EPA, the climate change denial during the campaign, the ambiguous relationship with Russia. All of these positions are great for fossil fuel industries and bad for everybody else.
By now it’s well-documented that Trump invested heavily in Energy Transfer Partners, the company responsible for building the Dakota Access Pipeline. And Big Oil even funded the new President’s inauguration festivities. ExxonMobil, along with several other major corporations, reportedly contributed around $500,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee in exchange for choice seats and access to exclusive events.
Immigration policy is affected, too
And it doesn’t stop with environmental issues. Last Friday’s immigration restrictions affect travelers from seven countries in North Africa and the Middle East. Conspicuously absent from that list is Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter and country of origin of several perpetrators of terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, the Saudi minister of energy praised Trump’s pro-oil plans.
In fact, Trump has no business interests in any of the countries affected by his ban. Trump’s unwillingness to divest from his business holdings make him an untrustworthy leader. But beyond his own real estate empire, Trump’s coziness with fossil fuel corporations and executives is already severely curtailing his ability to make safe, ethical policy choices.