Within minutes of news breaking that President Donald Trump had signed an executive order that sets the way for the construction of the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders declared his commitment to fighting the move. "Today, President Trump ignored the voices of millions and put the short-term profits of the fossil fuel industry ahead of the future of our planet," Sanders said in a statement. "At a time when the scientific community is virtually unanimous in telling us that climate change is real, it is caused by human activity and it is already causing devastating problems, we cannot afford to build new oil pipelines that lock us into burning fossil fuels for years to come. I will do everything I can to stop these pipelines and protect our planet for future generations."
Sanders has been an outspoken critic of the pipelines, while his opponent for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton, was far more reserved on the issue. In September, the 75-year-old senator was part of the protests against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, which took place in front of the White House. In November, just a week after Election Day, Sanders participated in another pipeline protest outside of the White House, during which he said:
You can read Sanders' Tuesday statement in full below:
The Army announced in early December that it was halting construction of the final piece of the Dakota Access pipeline. However, even then, opponents of the pipeline knew they would have another battle ahead when Trump would be sworn in as president in January. Billy McMaster, one of the Dakota Access protesters, told The Huffington Post at the time, "They're just going to go ahead and do it, and then as soon as Trump comes in, it's just going to be a wash because he's just going to come in and pull his muscle and his might and push us out."