President-elect Donald Trump dumped his shares in the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) last summer as demonstrations against the project raised to a fevered pitch.
Trump sold his shares in Energy Transfer Partners, the company working to construct the multi-billion dollar project, the president-elect’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks told the Washington Post. ETP recently agreed to a $20 billion merger with Sunoco in an all-stock transaction.
The financial disclosure form filed in May of 2015 shows Trump dumped between $500,000 and $1 million into the company. The information was disclosed in Trump’s filing to the Federal Election Commission.
Trump tossed another $500,000 in Phillips 66, which will have a 25 percent ownership in the project once completed. He reported making upward of $50,000 in interest, dividends and capital gains from the pipeline.
The $3.8 billion line has come under withering scrutiny from anti-oil pipeline protesters and American Indian tribes.
Standing Rock Sioux tribe, one of the tribes spearheading opposition, argues the pipeline’s construction would trample on tribal lands and destroy artifacts. They also believe it could potentially poison waterways, including rivers such as the Missouri River and Lake Oahe.
Many of the same groups that opposed the Keystone XL pipeline have joined the fight against the DAPL, which would bring 470,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil per day from western North Dakota to southern Illinois.
Trump’s decision to drop the stocks could help him avoid allegations that his role in the company constitutes a conflict of interest; he still must find a way to navigate similar conflicts of interest popping up among his possible future cabinet members.
One of Trump’s possible cabinet members – former Texas Gov. Rick Perry — has served as a director of ETP since early 2015, and owns $100,000 worth of stock in the company, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission form filed in January.
The Texas Republican also serves on the board of Sunoco Logistics Partners LP, which announced Monday it was purchasing ETP for a hefty $21 billion. Perry must determine whether to place his stock in a blind trust to avoid conflicts of interest going forward.
President Barack Obama momentarily stopped pipeline construction in September, potentially leaving DAPL’s fate up to the Trump administration.
ETP’s CEO Kelcey Warren’s decision to shovel more than $100,000 to elect Trump. Warren dumped another $66,000 into the Republican National Committee.
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