Authored By Timothy Cama | 01/24/17 | 11:50 AM EST
URL of the original posting site: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/315852-trump-orders-keystone-dakota-access-pipeline-applications-to-move
“We will build our own pipeline, we will build our own pipes, like we used to, in the old days,” Trump said as he held up one of his actions to television cameras brought into the Oval Office to broadcast the event.
The actions are a sharp turn from the Obama administration’s policies, as the former president had rejected the Keystone pipeline and delayed Dakota Access. Tuesday’s actions will not force the approval of either project, and Trump said he wanted to renegotiate terms with the pipelines’ developers. Those terms may include some way for the United States government to get a financial return from Keystone, a possibility he mentioned on the campaign trail.The new president briefly described each action before putting his pen to paper, and then held each action in front of the cameras.
“This is with regard to the construction of the Keystone pipeline, a subject that’s been in dispute, and it’s subject to a renegotiation of terms by us,” Trump said. “We are going to renegotiate some of the terms, and, if they’d like, we’ll see if we can get that pipeline built.
“A lot of jobs, 28,000 jobs. Great construction jobs,” Trump added.
Trump signed a total of five actions on Tuesday, all of which are designed to either move forward with pipeline projects or help U.S. manufacturing.
Besides the actions moving forward with permitting for Keystone and Dakota Access, Trump signed a memo asking the Commerce Department to lay out a plan for all pipelines in the country to use materials produced in the United States.
He also signed actions to expedite permitting for manufacturing projects and to expedite environmental reviews for infrastructure projects.
Trump declined to answer a reporter who asked what he had to say about the months-long, ongoing protests against Dakota Access near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. The tribe says the pipeline’s construction under Lake Oahe threatens their drinking supplies and cultural sites.
The oil industry hailed the actions as a sharp turnaround for the federal government.
“We are pleased to see the new direction being taken by this administration to recognize the importance of our nation’s energy infrastructure by restoring the rule of law in the permitting process that’s critical to pipelines and other infrastructure projects,” American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said in a statement.
“Critical energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipelines will help deliver energy to American consumers and businesses safely and efficiently,” he continued.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said it was “about time” that the projects moved forward.
“The unfortunate reality is that these important infrastructure projects were used by special interests to advance their radical anti-energy agenda and were therefore needlessly halted by the last administration—to the detriment of America’s national interest,” he said in a statement.
North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitcamp (D), whose state was the site of massive protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, praised the decision to move forward.
“Building out our country’s energy infrastructure is a key component of achieving an all-of-the-above North American energy strategy and projects that support our energy, economic, and national security,” she said in a statement.
Environmentalists slammed the moves as major threats to clean air, clean water and the climate.
“No amount of ‘alternative facts’ can change the reality that these dirty and dangerous pipelines are a bad deal for clean air, safe drinking water and the communities living along the routes,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, the top lobbyist at the League of Conservation Voters.
Updated at 2:57 p.m.