Trump to sign orders reviving pipeline projects, sources say
President Trump plans to sign executive orders reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, which had been stalled under the Obama administration, sources tell Fox News. The moves had been widely expected, as Trump blasted his predecessor for effectively blocking the projects amid environmental and other concerns.
Although the Canada-to-Texas Keystone project was at the center of a heated debate for years until the Obama administration rejected a key permit in November 2015, the Dakota pipeline more recently became the subject of fierce protests until the Army Corps of Engineers in December blocked construction of a controversial segment.
The company behind the Keystone XL project, TransCanada, has not yet reapplied for a pipeline permit, after having withdrawn its request under the Obama administration.
The moves are likely to spark a new fight with environmentalists. Even before Trump’s orders were official, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune put out a statement blasting what he called the “dangerous” decision.
“The Keystone pipeline was rejected because it was not in the country’s interest, and the environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline was ordered because of the threats it poses to the Standing Rock Sioux. Nothing has changed. These pipelines were a bad idea then and they’re a bad idea now,” he said.
The expected moves come as Trump makes the economy and jobs the centerpiece of his administration’s first week in office.
The pipelines were one of the few issues that put the Obama administration at odds with labor unions, some of whom have voiced hope the Trump administration can work with them to promote job creation. Trump said Tuesday during his meeting with auto industry bosses that he considers himself an environmentalist, but called current regulations “out of control.”
The pipeline orders would follow earlier executive actions covering everything from trade to ObamaCare.
Trump on Monday signed measures withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and instituting a hiring freeze for most of the federal government.