President Donald Trump plans to overturn the U.S. Department of the Army’s denial of the last easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to be drilled under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer implied on January 23.
Spicer “gave first hints that the new administration would move forward” with both the DAPL and the Keystone XL pipeline, projects that were halted or put on hold after fierce grassroots opposition, reported The Independent.
"I'm not gonna get in front of the president's executive actions, but I will tell you that areas like Dakota and the Keystone Pipeline, areas that we can increase jobs, increase economic growth, and tap into America's energy supply more, that's something that he has been very clear about," Spicer said, according to a press conference transcript published by the Washington Post. “I think he talked about it, not only on the campaign, but around the Thanksgiving period. He was talking about that being a big priority. That's one of those ones where I think that the energy sector and our natural resources are an area where I think the President is very, very keen on making sure that we maximize our use of natural resources to America's benefit. It's good for economic growth, it's good for jobs, and it's good for American energy.”
Until this past summer, it would also have been good for Trump’s wallet, given that he was invested in pipeline builder Energy Transfer Partners. He sold those shares as the conflict heated up, according to the Washington Post. Trump has also received support from ETP head Kelcy Warren.
“The Trump Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee that includes Trump’s campaign, the Republican National Committee and some state parties, received a $100,000 contribution from Warren on June 29,” the Washington Post reported.
Bloomberg News reported in November that “Trump also owns between $100,000 and $250,000 in Phillips 66, which has a one-quarter share of Dakota Access.”
Whether it's good for America as a whole has been hotly disputed in a historic gathering of tribal leaders and members, as well as thousands of non-Native allies, all known as water protectors, who have been camped out near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation for months. In fighting against the pipeline, they have been shot with mace, rubber bullets and water cannons in sub-freezing temperatures, and attacked with dogs. More than 600 have been arrested.
Many water protectors are in the process of moving out of the camps, having been ordered to leave by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council because of impending spring flooding. The fight, said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II, is now in the courts as Energy Transfer Partners seeks to convince a judge that the Environmental Impact Statement study that is now under way is not needed, and that the company actually does have all the necessary permits, easements and permissions for drilling underneath the river.