Protesters’ recent successes fighting the Dakota oil pipeline could come to a screeching halt once President-elect Donald Trump moves into the White House.
Trump is no doubt a proponent of building pipelines. He dumped nearly $1 million into Energy Transfer Partners, the company constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline, which was disclosed in Trump’s financial filing to the Federal Election Commission.
He has also floated the idea of reviving the Keystone XL line, a Canadian pipeline cutting through the U.S that was eventually scuttled in 2014 by President Barack Obama.
The energy industry believes Trump will be a champion for their cause.
Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren believes a Trump presidency is a good thing for the Dakota pipeline, and underground pipelines in general.
“I view the results of last night’s election as favorable not only for our project, but for future infrastructure projects that have been vetted and reviewed as thoroughly as ours has been,” Warren told reporters Wednesday.
The nearly 1,200-mile long line was initially supposed to run under the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s reservation, but demonstrators and environmental activists pushed and prodded the Obama administration into temporarily halting the pipeline.
The company moved the $3.8 billion project south, near the Standing Rock reservation, because it was 11 miles shorter and considered less impactful on the environment, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The new pipeline also cost $23 million less than the initial route.
The D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals came to a similar decision on Sept. 17, temporarily halting construction within 20 miles of Lake Oahe in North Dakota while the court considers whether to order a longer delay.
Environmentalists and American Indian groups are rousing.
Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II told reporters, without specifically mentioning Trump’s name, that the Republican real estate tycoon’s victory shows “that we as a country have so much work to do.”
“We must strengthen our resolve to protect the water, pray together for understanding, and pour our hearts and minds into the future of all our children,” he added.
Environmental groups said they would continue to support the tribe, and are still looking to push Obama to permanently stop the pipeline.
“There is no doubt that Donald Trump poses an immediate threat to our climate and will try to fast track this and other fossil fuel projects across the country,” Greenpeace spokeswoman Lilian Molina said in a statement.
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