by Lauren Bollinger
On his second weekday in office, President Trump filed an executive order to reopen construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a project that was formerly blocked by the Obama administration after months of protests by Native American activists. The 1,172 mile-long pipeline is slated to run through four states, from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota through Illinois, and transport around half a million (470,000) barrels of crude oil per day.
Originally planned for delivery by January 1st of this year, the project was stalled after widespread protests led by Native American activists which gained international attention. In the early stages of planning, the pipeline was proposed to run through Bismarck, North Dakota, but was rerouted to run adjacent to the Standing Rock Reservation, after concerns from Bismarck residents. Members of the Standing Rock Sioux oppose the project as they argue it threatens environmental safety and indigenous sovereignty, as the pipeline is slated to run only a mile from their tribal borders.
It is worth noting that Trump is a former stakeholder in two of the companies behind the Dakota Access Pipeline project, with nearly $1 million invested in Energy Transfer Partners and $250,000 in Phillips 66 in 2015, but has since sold his shares as of summer 2016.
This move marks the first major step by Trump to reverse his predecessor’s environmental policies in favor of his America First Energy Plan, which advocates for energy independence. In addition to this measure, Trump administration has signed actions to resume construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a similar project that was gutted by Obama in 2015, and expedite environmental reviews for high-priority infrastructure projects.
“Trump reopens door to building Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.” http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-trailguide-updates-trump-opens-keystone-xl-and-dakota-1485275942-htmlstory.html
“Trump signs executive actions to advance the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines” https://apnews.com/45a8e5feb306444a8a180f6f3e6d7a97
“Trump signs actions to advance Keystone XL, Dakota Access Pipelines” http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-advances-keystone-xl-dakota-access-pipelines/story?id=45008003