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My Personal Letter from President Obama Regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline (10-17-2016)

Thank you for writing, and for your thoughtful input. As President, my greatest responsibility is ensuring the safety of the American people, including when it comes to our Nation’s energy infrastructure. My Administration is setting the highest possible standards for oil and gas production and transportation, and each day we are working to make sure our pursuit of energy resources does not put our communities at risk. That work includes steps the Army has committed to taking in light of important issues raised about the Dakota Access pipeline.

I understand the risks associated with the development and transportation of fossil fuels, which is why my Administration has overhauled Federal oversight and raised the bar on safety across the board. As part of our efforts to improve Federal permitting and review processes, we are making safe pipeline infrastructure a priority in order to help ensure the health and security of our communities and the environment.

As new energy infrastructure is developed, the Federal Government will continue working with State, local, and tribal governments—which play a central role in the siting and permitting of pipelines—to address the concerns of local communities. One of my priorities as President is upholding an honest and respectful relationship with Native American tribes, and we have made a lot of progress in restoring ancestral lands, waters, and sacred sites over the past 8 years. My Administration also remains committed to consulting with tribes to ensure meaningful tribal input is factored into infrastructure-related decisions across the Federal Government. In the weeks ahead, Departments and Agencies will meet with tribal leaders across the country in a series of formal consultations on this issue.

Again, thank you for writing. I hear you, and I am optimistic that together, we can grow our economy and create new opportunities while securing a cleaner and safer future for all our people.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

Stand with Dreamers

A few years ago, I began organizing a peaceful rally to defend DACA recipients. I made the first moves, and then allowed other organizers to help out.

You can see coverage of the rally here.

I mentioned this to people who came to the event, but I wanted to note it here: I know at least one DACA recipient personally. My love and care for him was the start of my move for immigrant rights.

John Nash and the Quiet Life

Before he died, John Nash, the famous Noble prize winning mathematician, said that recovering from schizophrenia was a matter of living a quiet life.

I thought I understood him in the past, but I don’t think I did.

More and more, we live in an era of attention seeking. People seek fame–Tik Tok fame, Twitter fame–and are hungry for money. I don’t begrudge people a living wage, but I do take offense at money hoarders and scammers, who see everything in terms of the bottom line. A lot of people only value relationships for the monetary benefits they can get from them.

I’m not fully recovered yet, but I am happier and healthier than I have been in my life. I told an old friend the other day that I now live a quiet and happy life.

To most, my life would be considered boring. It is uneventful, low stress, and drama free. I like it that way. It aides in my recovery.

Here’s to a quiet life. May more people have one.

High School Memories

The other day, my mom was going through a box of papers. She found a note from my high school English teacher, Mrs. Orloff.

The note reads as follows:

“Dear Jennie

Thank you for the gift & the party. I will think of you often. You have challenged me to be a better teacher. I hope to go in a book store someday and see a stack of books by the famous author Jennie Lawson. Be good-be happy.

Mrs. Orloff”

I was close to my high school teachers. I attended a school for teen parents. Back then, it was called Teen Parent East. Now, it is called The Chiles Academy.

We had to fight for our education and the right to have a school that catered to our needs. Because of that, I got involved in politics at an early age. I will always thank my teachers for showing me how to advocate for myself and others.

The school had nutrition classes, parenting classes–in addition to regular classes in English, Math, etc. There was a daycare on site. I was able to breastfeed for two years because of that.

The school is now named The Chiles Academy after the late former governor Lawton Chiles, who visited our school and was supportive.

It is very important to have good teachers in your life. I am thankful that the vast majority of my formal educational experiences have been very positive.