It was a busy second day for President Donald Trump when in blitz of executive actions, in addition to the previously signed orders to expedite environmental review and approval of high-priority infrastructure projects meant to accelerate the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and to decree that any pipelines intended for the United States should be built in the country, he also signed three more longer-term and sweeping directives requiring American-made steel and changing the process of approving and regulating future pipeline and infrastructure projects.
"Sometimes it takes many, many years and we don’t want that to happen. If it's a 'no,' we'll get a quick 'no.' If it's a 'yes,' it's like, let's start building," Trump said in an Oval Office signing ceremony that has already become a trademark of his short presidency.
In reversing the Obama administration policy to disapprove the Keystone pipeline, Trump emphasized that the construction isn't a done deal. "It's something that subject to a renegotiation of terms by us," he said. "We'll see if we can get the pipeline built. A lot of jobs, 28,000 jobs."
Environmental groups reacted quickly and vociferously, promising legal action and White House protests. "President Trump wil live to regret his actions this morning," said Michael Brune of the Sierra Club, promising "a wall of resistance the likes of which he never imagined."
In total, Trump signed four presidential memoranda and one executive order.
- A memorandum expediting the Keystone XL Pipeline, a proposed 1,179-mile cross-border pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska. In unusual language referring to a specific private company in a presidential directive, Trump invited pipeline company, Transcanada, "to promptly resubmit its application." He also ordered the secretary of State to make a decision within 60 days, fast-tracking existing procedural requirements.
- A memorandum directing the secretary of the Army to "review and approve in an expedited manner" the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,172-mile pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois that has been the subject of heated protests by American Indian groups and environmentalists. Because the pipeline crosses waterways, it needs approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Trump once owned stock in Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, although his campaign said he sold off all individual stock holdings last August. Trump has not yet filed a financial disclosure report to confirm the sale.
- A memorandum requiring the secretary of Commerce to come up with a plan to mandate American-made steel for all new, expanded or retrofitted pipelines in the United States. The plan is due in six months. "Going to put a lot of workers, a lot of steelworkers, back to work," Trump said.
- A memorandum to all federal agencies to review manufacturing regulations. The secretary of Commerce is required to seek input from the public on how to streamline those rules for 60 days, with a report to Trump containing proposals 60 days after that.
- An executive order fast-tracking approval for "high-priority infrastructure projects." Under Trump's order, any governor or Cabinet secretary can ask for a project to be designated as high-priority. If the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality approves, the project will go to the front of the line for any agency required to review and approve the project.
"This is the expediting of environmental reviews and approvals for high-priority infrastructure projects," Trump said. "We can’t be in an environmental process for 15 years if a bridge is falling down."