President Donald Trump is expected to take executive action Tuesday to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines Trump told reporters before a meeting at the White House this morning. The president is scheduled to sign orders at the White House later today.
Former President Barack Obama stopped TransCanada Corp.‘s proposed Keystone XL pipeline in late 2015, declaring it would have undercut U.S. efforts to clinch a global climate change deal that was a centerpiece of his environmental legacy, a deal that Trump has said he will pull the U.S. out of.
The pipeline would run from Canada to U.S. refineries in the Gulf Coast. The U.S. government needed to approve the pipeline because it crossed the border with its northern neighbor.
Energy Transfer Partners LP’s $3.8 billion Dakota Access project was stalled when the Obama administration halted work on in on land near Lake Oahe in North Dakota amid protests by Native American groups, despite a federal judge ruling that work on the pipeline could continue after the Standing Rock Sioux, whose land neighbors Lake Oahe, filed a lawsuit to stop it.
The pipelines need different approvals to move forward and the executive orders will not grant the final permits needed for them, but will move both projects toward approval. Keystone XL requires a presidential approval for crossing the border and Dakota Access requires an easement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (previously denied by Obama’s USACE) to build under the Missouri River near Lake Oahe.
TransCanada may need to submit another formal application to build the Keystone XL project, but the company’s plans have already been vetted, with years of environmental scrutiny culminating in former President Barack Obama’s 2015 decision that the pipeline was not in the U.S. interest.