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Trump signs off on Dakota Access, Keystone XL

Environmental groups describe Trump's energy policies as a dark period for the country.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
US President Donald Trump (F), with White House chief of staff Reince Pribus (L), counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway (2L), White House Communications Director Hope Hicks (3L), Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (2R) and Senior Counselor Stephen Bannon (R), signs one of five executive orders related to the oil pipeline industry in the oval office of the White House in Washington, DC on January 24, 2017. President Trump has a full day of meetings including one with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and another with the full Senate leadership. Pool photo by Shawn Thew/UPI
US President Donald Trump (F), with White House chief of staff Reince Pribus (L), counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway (2L), White House Communications Director Hope Hicks (3L), Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (2R) and Senior Counselor Stephen Bannon (R), signs one of five executive orders related to the oil pipeline industry in the oval office of the White House in Washington, DC on January 24, 2017. President Trump has a full day of meetings including one with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and another with the full Senate leadership. Pool photo by Shawn Thew/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Executive orders signed Tuesday by U.S. President Donald Trump could clear the way for two of the most controversial pipelines in the industry's history.

Trump signed executive measures that would make it possible to complete the Dakota Access and restart the process for the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

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Dakota Access has long been a source of contention given its proximity to tribal lands in and around North Dakota. State regulators in North Dakota say there's not enough pipeline capacity to transport the amount of crude oil coming out of the Bakken and Three Forks oil reservoirs.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in early December, after protests that began last January escalated in the fall, said it would not approve an easement for further construction on the pipeline to bridge Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The decision stemmed in part from water-quality concerns expressed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota.

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Energy Transfer Partners, a company in which Trump once invested, and Sunoco Logistics Partners, the two companies behind the pipeline's construction, said the decision from the Army Corps of Engineers was a delay tactic from former President Barack Obama, whose administration ruled against the Keystone XL oil pipeline on environmental grounds.

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Before he took office, Trump told Fox News he'd "solve" the Dakota Access issue "very quickly" after he was inaugurated. A White House policy statement on energy says the Trump administration would advance U.S. energy security interests by "achieving energy independence from the OPEC cartel and any nations hostile to our interests."

Keystone XL, an oil pipeline that would cross the U.S.-Canadian border, would carry oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast for possible exports.

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Companies behind either pipeline had no comment on Trump's potential action. On Trump's broad energy plan, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said "it's a polluter wishlist that will make our air and water dirtier, our climate and international relations more unstable, and our kids sicker."

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