Biden campaigned for president on fighting climate change. And it is true that his administration revoked with a flourish the permits for the Keystone XL pipeline on the first day of his administration. But what has been going on with less fanfare since then? Lawyers within his administration are currently defending mining and oil projects such as Willow oil project in Alaska, the Resolution Copper Mining project in Arizona and the Dakota Access Pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois. Because these projects run through federal lands and water crossings, they need federal approval. Companies that stand to benefit from potentially favorable court rulings are ConocoPhillips, Rio Tinto PLC, BHP Group Ltd., and others.
These projects would continue dumping greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, accelerating global heating. They would pollute local water supplies and desecrate lands that are considered sacred by indigenous groups. Various indigenous, environmental and local community groups have been active and speaking out against these projects. Ultimately, our fate on such issues doesn’t reside in the courts.
Beyond focusing exclusively on slowing down this or that mining or oil project, when we look at the state of the world with year after year continuing to be the hottest on record, why is there any discussion about expanding any fossil fuel projects? What is it about the system that we live in that values the fossil fuel industry’s addiction to profits above our survival on this planet? This is an addiction that doesn’t disappear if the personnel in the White House change or a court rules one way or the other. How long will we allow ourselves to be held hostage by such an insane system?