MINOT, N.D. — Donald Trump was a miserable, needlessly divisive president.
Joe Biden has promised that his administration will do better. Then he announced that one of the first major moves his administration would make would be to rescind the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline to cross the American/Canadian border.
That was first announced a dozen years ago. During its ridiculous tenure as a political football, the project may have received more regulatory scrutiny than any other pipeline project in American history as one review after another has been ordered as excuses to delay permits for the project.
Political zealots, too, have held up the project with endless court challenges, resulting in more delays.
Now we have Biden, who has promised to be a president for all Americans, taking a side against a pipeline — the safest way to transport a product every single one of us is using every single day — and with the aforementioned left-wing zealots.
How, uh, unifying?
This isn't just about the Keystone XL project.
The Dakota Access Pipeline, which was the target of months of violent protests enabled by the Barack Obama-Biden administration, is also hanging in the balance. DAPL, as it is commonly known, is hugely important to North Dakota's economic health.
About half of North Dakota's prodigious oil production flows to market through that line.
A lawsuit filed by left-wing activists has resulted in a judge ordering a new environmental review of the project, which has been operating for some time now. That same judge is also considering whether to shut the pipeline down while the review takes place.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the folks responsible for the review, has been on the side of keeping the line open. But now that Biden is their new boss, things could change.
"The Biden administration can shut down the pipeline on Day 1 with the stroke of a pen," Jan Hasselman, an attorney for the activists, has said.
Environmental activists may be cheering, but here in North Dakota, an epicenter of support for Trump in no small part because of the belligerence Democrats have shown toward the oil and gas industry, renewed hostility to pipelines means real harm for real people.
Closed businesses. Lost jobs. Devastated communities.
That problem is out of sight and out of mind for the modern base of the Democratic Party, which is huddled in urban areas far from where the food and energy come from.
Yet, again, Biden said he'd be a president for us all.
It didn't take long for his actions to speak more loudly than his words.
He can do better. He could choose to be different from Obama in their previous administration. He could choose to care about our part of the world.
He probably won't.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.