A day after his press secretary hinted that Donald Trump would look to get the Dakota Access Pipeline back on track, the new president took official steps to do just that.
Trump Tuesday morning signed an executive order that will make it easier for Energy Transfer Partners – the company building the pipeline – to finish construction, CNBC reports. The DAPL project has been protested in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, for months by opponents worried about the potential damage to waters on the nearby Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
Trump during his campaign had said he supported the project, which would bring crude oil the 1,100 miles from the Bakken oil fields to Illinois. After he won election, the Army, still under President Barack Obama, moved to block its completion (a portion has to be built under Lake Oahe, along the Missouri River near Cannon Ball). They said alternative routes need to be examined.
Also signed Tuesday morning was an executive order clearing the way for the Keystone XL Pipeline. That's the 1,100-mile-long line that would carry petroleum from fields in Canada, through to Nebraska. Obama blocked its construction in November of 2015.
Under a new president though, the White House's position has reversed course on both projects. The executive orders from Trump (signed in frontofreporters) essentially clear the way for federal government approval, the New York Times explains.
But what exactly the orders do to clear the way for the pipelines isn't clear, as the Washington Post notes. The White House didn't release text of the orders immediately, and previous rulings can't all just be overturned by an order.
NBC News later tweeted out the text from both orders. Here's the one for the Dakota Access Pipeline
And here's the one for Keystone XL:
One interesting wrinkle: Trump said the government will be renegotiating some of the terms with both pipeline construction companies – if they agree, the projects should be able to move forward, Reuters reports. But one of the new requirements will be American steel needs to be used for both.
Minnesota once had a bustling steel industry, but it's been hit hard in recent years with mass layoffs on the Iron Range. Many people, including Minnesota lawmakers, have blamed it at least partially on a cheap influx of foreign steel from countries such as China.
Environmental groups quickly responded, including Friends of the Earth, which immediately denounced Trump's orders by saying he's "made it clear that his America does not include the millions of Americans who fought to protect our land, water, sacred cultural sites and climate from dangerous pipelines. "
Energy Transfer Partners has said the pipeline will be built in one of the safest, most technologically advanced ways possible. The company has also pointed out the pipeline will replace the 500-plus rail cars and/or 250-plus trucks needed currently to transport the crude oil every day. And many people have pointed out, carrying crude oil by rail is also risky. One example: