President Donald Trump is expected to make an announcement later this afternoon about building a border wall along the 1,989 miles (3,201 km) U.S. and Mexico border to help strengthen border security and also to take stronger measures regarding the enforcement and deportation of illegal immigrants living in the U.S.
The estimated costs of building a new U.S- Mexico border wall runs between $15- 25 billion.
The current U.S.- Mexico border consists of a series of short border walls including a “virtual wall” monitored by the U.S. Border Patrol that includes cameras and sensors.
Keystone XL & Dakota Access Pipeline
Yesterday President Trump issued an executive order to invite TransCanada to “promptly re-submit its application to the Department of State for a Presidential permit for the construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline.”
The order calls for an “expeditious review” that includes the Secretary of State reaching a final permit decision within 60 days of TransCanada’s permit submission.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama didn’t issue the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and environmentalists were satisfied.
The Keystone XL Pipeline is a proposed 1,179-mile (1,897 km) crude oil pipeline that begins in Hardisty, Alta., and extends south through the border to Steele City, Nebraska where it would converge with another pipeline that pumps the oil to Port Arthur, Texas.
A rally at the National Mall on February 17, 2013 drew an estimated 40,000 to protest the Keystone XL and in March 2013 Secretary of State John Kerry released an environmental impact study that concluded a large spill from the Keystone XL has the potential to “spread as far as 1,214 feet, with dissolved components spreading as much as 1,050 feet further.”
The territory in the U.S. where the Keystone XL Pipeline extends includes the Sands hill region, sacred to Native American tribes, which also sits atop the massive Ogallala Aquifer, one of the world’s largest aquifers that supplies drinking water to millions and provides farmers with a valuable source of water.
An estimated 27 percent of the irrigated land in the entire United States lies over the aquifer which supplies approximately 30 percent of the ground water used for irrigation in the United States.
In addition to the risk of spillage in the U.S., international environmentalists have raised concerned about the extraction process that will be undertaken in Alberta’s oil sands and its impact on the environment.
The tar sands mining procedure releases at least 3 x times the CO2 emissions compared with regular oil production and will soon become the single largest contributor to climate change in North America.
Yesterday the Sierra Club, and environmental group, tweeted their disapproval about the Keystone XL with the following message: “Trump is the person who they thought: a person who will sell off Americans’ property & tribal rights, clean air & safe water to corporate polluters.”
"Trump is who we thought: a person who will sell off Americans’ property & tribal rights, clean air & safe water to corporate polluters." https://t.co/Ey3MX04voF
— Sierra Club (@SierraClub) January 25, 2017
President Trump also issued another executive order yesterday to expedite the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,100-mile pipeline designed to send approximately 500,000 barrels per day of crude oil from the Bakken and Three Forks oil production areas in North Dakota to oil markets in the United States.
The Dakota Access Pipeline has been in the news lately due to the protests from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe which protested the construction of the pipeline less than a mile from its reservation.
Last month, the Army Corps of Engineers agreed to pursue an alternative route for the pipeline that avoids drilling under the Missouri River.