Trump signs new executive order all but inviting oil and gas companies to pony up some bribe money


On Wednesday, Donald Trump signed two new executive orders meant to accelerate oil and gas extraction. You likely only need to hear "Donald Trump" and "oil and gas" to get the rough picture: Team Trump has been aggressive in efforts to roll back environmental protections and to boost the oil, gas, and coal industries, to the point of frequently apparent crookedness.

The current (and only) Republican energy plan can be summed up as "extract as much carbon as can possibly be mustered, pocket the profits, and let the poors deal with everything that comes next." Toward this end, the two orders seek to limit use of the Clean Water Act by states (and tribes) to block projects the federal government has otherwise approved, to push forward the use of rail cars for transporting natural gas (what could go wrong), and to clarify that no matter what the rest of the administration may think, it is Donald Trump and only Donald Trump who will be making the decisions on which pipelines get approved.

The first executive order calls on the Environmental Protection Agency to review how states, tribes, and agencies handle the Clean Water Act’s interim guidance and directs the Department of Transportation to propose a rule updating how liquefied natural gas is transported.

The second order clarifies that any decisions about cross-border permits will no longer be made by the Secretary of State, but by the president -- an announcement that was met by loud cheers from the crowd gathered in the audience.

That second one is particularly interesting; it might as well be called the Teapot Dome Executive Bribe-o-rama. By putting the power to approve or reject each pipeline directly in Donald Trump's slightly undersized hands, Trump is all but inviting would-be pipeline seekers to sign up for Mar-a-Lago memberships, frequent his most lavish hotels, or otherwise shovel money and attention in his direction if they want their projects to be fast-tracked through the federal process.

And if you don't, maybe Donald Trump loses the paperwork. It’s your choice, every single multi-state energy company in America.

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