Hundreds of thousands of people protested the Dakota Access Pipline last year in North Dakota, and were joined by people from around the world. But it appears President Donald Trump doesn’t care that thousands of people made their voices heard on Native American rights; his press secretary just indicated the president may move forward with the controversial oil pipeline.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers denied Energy Transfer Partners the permit they required to keep working on the Dakota Access Pipeline near the North Dakota Standing Rock Sioux reservation in December. Army Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said they would “explore alternate routes” for the pipeline that was set to extend through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois.
But the new Press Secretary Sean Spicer hinted the White House wants to plunge forward with the pipeline. In a press conference, Spicer said, “I will tell you that areas like the Dakota and Keystone pipeline areas that we can increase jobs, increase economic growth, and tap into America’s energy supply. That’s something that he’s been very clear about.”
It seems Trump views natural resources as supplies America should consume instead of conserve. Spicer said, “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.”
Lawmakers also appear confident Trump will move forward on the pipeline. North Dakota Republican representative Kevin Cramer told a Fargo radio station it’s possible for Trump to cancel the Environmental Impact Study Obama ordered that helped lead to the permit denial. Cramer said, “I expect [the EIS] will be rescinded quickly, that the easement [to drill under Lake Oahe] will be ordered and issued, you know, maybe as early as Monday. And I would expect that Dakota Access could begin finishing that line within a week.”
According to The Independent, Trump still held an under $50,000 stake in Energy Transfer Partners last year, although his campaign said his stance on continuing the pipeline had nothing “to do with his personal investments and everything to do with promoting policies that benefit all Americans.”