WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2017 - President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed executive actions that could pave the way for construction of two controversial pipelines that had been held up by the Obama White House.

Trump signed two separate orders: one addressing the Keystone XL pipeline, the other, the Dakota Access pipeline. Both had been stalled by Obama administration action that either denied construction permits or called for a reroute.

Trump said at Tuesday’s signing ceremony that the Keystone XL order “is subject to a renegotiation of terms by us. We are going to renegotiate some of the terms. And then if they like, we’ll see if we can get that pipeline built.”

Reaction to the news fell along predictable lines: Those previously in favor of the projects cheered, while those previously opposed jeered.

American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard said in a statement that he welcomed the “new direction” taken by the administration. “Critical energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines will help deliver energy to American consumers and businesses safely and efficiently,” Gerard said.

Karen Harbert, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, said Trump’s orders “demonstrate that we finally have an administration that is serious about putting American energy to work for the entire economy.”

Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, was disappointed in the news. She said that “at a time when our country must be turning decisively away from polluting fossil fuels, Trump seeks to double-down on them, for the sake of enriching his billionaire friends and cabinet nominees who are deeply entrenched in the industry.”

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The Keystone XL pipeline was halted by Obama in 2015. If completed as planned, it would stretch 1,179 miles from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Illinois and Texas as well as a distribution center in Oklahoma, providing a lot of job opportunities along the way.
The Dakota Access Pipeline was subject to scrutiny due to the proposed route and its proximity to Native American water sources in North Dakota. The pipeline would move North Dakota Baaken crude 1,172 miles through through the Dakotas and Iowa en route to Illinois. The line is adjacent to an existing natural gas pipeline that was not protested by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
According to an Associated Press report, the cost of just policing the Dakota Access pipeline protests in North Dakota is at least $22 million — more than $5 million more than the state set aside last year.
In a statement, David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota, said the tribe was “not opposed to energy independence,” but it was opposed to “reckless and politically motivated development projects, like DAPL.”
“Creating a second Flint does not make America great again,” he continued.
In addition to the two pipeline specific orders, Trump also signed an order aimed at streamlining the regulatory process and a requirement that U.S. pipeline construction be built using U.S. steel.
“We will build our own pipeline, we will build our own pipes,” he said. “That’s what it has to do with. Like we used to in the old days.”


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