During an off-camera conversation with the press aboard Air Force One, President Trump has declared that he approved the Keystone and Dakota pipelines to compete with Russia. This is presumably an attempt to distance himself from the accusations of collusion with the Russian government during his presidential campaign.
“The first thing I signed, the first day, was the Keystone Pipeline. That first was the Keystone and the Dakota Access Pipeline – also Dakota Access. Now, what does that mean? Dakota Access takes it to the Pacific. Who do they compete with? Russia,” Trump claimed.
“First day. It's also 48,000 jobs between both of them. The other one I signed, that was the Keystone. That was dead. That was dead for two years. It was never going to happen. I revived it on day one. You know, you'll check, please check it. I have to be exactly accurate. They'll say, oh I wasn't totally accurate. But that goes to the Gulf, right? Competes with Russia.”
Since Trump asked us to check it, let’s do it.
First of all, the executive order was signed four days after he took office. Also, the claim of 48,000 jobs seems to have come out of thin air. The two companies developing and operating the pipelines, Dakota Access LLC and TransCanada, claimed the operation will have between 12,000 and 26,000 jobs, respectively. A US state department report states that all but 50 positions in the Keystone Pipeline would be temporary. The number is estimated at 40 for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“I'm a tremendous fracker, coal, natural gas, alternate energy, wind – everything, right?” Trump continued. “But I'm going to produce much much more energy than anyone else who was ever running for office. Ever. We're going to have clean coal, and Hillary wasn't.”
People familiar with Ronald D. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica will probably agree that Trump is a tremendous fracker [or insert your own joke here]. Also in that statement, we should state that it’s alternative energy. But we're just being picky.
Instead, let’s focus on the blatant lie in the statement. There is no such thing as "clean coal". This term has been peddled by climate change deniers for a few years with not a single ounce of evidence. Coal is the opposite of clean, it’s the most carbon-rich fossil fuel there is, actually, producing nearly twice as much carbon dioxide during combustion as natural gas.