Dakota Access Pipeline
The Dakota Access Pipeline is being built by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners. It will transport over 500,000 barrels of crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois daily, connecting North Dakota's Bakken Shale oil wells to consumer markets. It was proposed in 2014 with planned completion in 2016. The US Army Corps of Engineers initially evaluated a pipeline route north of Bismarck, North Dakota, but concluded it was not a viable option because of proximity to wellhead source water protection areas that supply municipal water wells among other reasons. The current route takes the pipeline under the Missouri River, the primary drinking water source for the Standing Rock Sioux tribal reservation in the central part of North and South Dakota, and through a sacred burial ground.
Opponents of the pipeline responded with protests and litigation. Thousands from across the country joined the protests as media coverage spread and celebrities joined the efforts. On September 9, 2016, moments after a federal judge rejected efforts by the Standing Rock Sioux to block construction, the federal government temporarily blocked construction of the pipeline to allow the US Army Corps of Engineers time to evaluate the tribe's concerns. On Dec. 4, 2016, the Army Corp of Engineers denied the permit necessary for the key section of the pipeline. In their statement the Corp indicated they will issue an Environmental Impact Statement.
On Jan. 24, 2017, Trump signed a presidential memorandum ordering the Corp to expedite and approve requests for easements, to reconsider the December 4 memorandum, and to consider withdrawing their Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.
2016.09.09 U.S. temporarily suspends construction on Dakota Access Pipeline after a federal judge’s ruling rejected efforts by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to halt construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. nytimes.com (See also Native Americans) 2016.10.26 Trump’s financial disclosure forms show he invested between $500,000 and $1m in Energy Transfer Partners, operators of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a further $500,000 and $1m in Phillips 66 (Which has a 25% stake in the project once completed), and its CEO donated $100,000 to his campaign theguardian.com (See also Conflicts of Interest, Native Americans) 2016.11.25 Concerns are raised over Trump owning stocks in company building Dakota Access Pipeline. cnbc.com (See also Conflicts of Interest, Presidential Transition) 2016.12.04 The Army Corps of Engineers denies a permit for building the oil pipeline north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. npr.org (See also Native Americans) 2017.01.24 Trump resurrects Keystone and DAPL. Trump has invested in Energy Transfer Partners the partner behind Dakota Access. theguardian.com (See also First 100 Days, Keystone XL Pipeline, Climate Change, NAFTA, Conflicts of Interest, Native Americans) 2017.01.24 Trump signs executive orders to advance construction on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. cnbc.com (See also First 100 Days, Keystone XL Pipeline, Conflicts of Interest, Native Americans) 2017.01.25 President Trump's executive orders related to the Keystone XL and Dakota Pipeline projects do not amount to 'green lights.' Here are the caveats and hurdles that must be cleared before the builders can proceed. forbes.com (See also First 100 Days, Keystone XL Pipeline, Native Americans) 2017.01.26 The American Psychological Association releases a statement that Trump's move to revive the Dakota Pipeline is potentially damaging to the emotional well-being of the indigenous people. washingtonpost.com (See also Native Americans) 2017.01.31 The acting secretary of the army directs the army corps of engineers to grant the easement necessary to finish the billion-dollar project moving the Dakota Access pipeline to final stage in army corps approval process. theguardian.com (See also First 100 Days, Environment, Native Americans) 2017.02.01 North Dakota police arrested 76 people one day after federal officials suggested that the government could soon approve the final stage of pipeline construction theguardian.com (See also First 100 Days, Environment, Native Americans) 2017.02.01 The U.S. military veteran group Veterans Stand for Standing Rock has vowed to block completion of the Dakota Access pipeline. cnbc.com (See also First 100 Days, Environment, Native Americans) 2017.02.03 The Trump administration sends Bureau of Indian Affairs agents to remove protesters from the Dakota Access Pipeline site in Standing Rock Reservation. washingtonpost.com (See also Environment, Native Americans) 2017.02.03 U.S. Army Corps gives eviction notice to Dakota Access protest camp, saying in a statement Friday evening, that it would close the Oceti Sakowin Camp on Feb. 22 due to the "high potential for flooding" in the low-lying area. nbcnews.com (See also First 100 Days, Environment, Native Americans) 2017.02.07 The army corps of engineers says it intends to grant a permit for the oil pipeline to cross the Missouri river, following Donald Trump’s executive order in a major blow to Standing Rock Sioux. theguardian.com (See also First 100 Days, Native Americans) 2017.02.08 In a unanimous vote, Seattle's City Council opted to pull city funds from the banking giant. Hours later, the City Council in Davis, Calif., followed suit, totalling more than $3 Billion in divestment over Dakota Access Pipeline. npr.org (See also First 100 Days, Environment) 2017.02.08 Water protectors return to Standing Rock as drilling is set to begin. theguardian.com (See also First 100 Days, Native Americans) 2017.02.09 Pipeline at heart of protests and legal action could be transporting oil within three months – but Standing Rock activists say they will stay put amid tribe's legal challenge theguardian.com (See also First 100 Days, Native Americans) 2017.02.10 FBI representatives have contacted several "water protectors", raising alarm that an indigenous-led movement is being construed as domestic terrorism. theguardian.com (See also FBI, Assaults on Civil Liberties, Native Americans) 2017.02.11 Army veterans are returning to Standing Rock to form a human shield against police as construction on the pipeline resumes. theguardian.com (See also Native Americans) 2017.02.15 Pope Francis appears to back tribal land rights in Dakota Access pipeline fight saying the need to protect native land is ‘especially clear when planning economic activities which may interfere with indigenous cultures’ theguardian.com (See also First 100 Days) 2017.02.17 A judge dismisses the criminal trespass charges against three pipeline protesters halfway through their jury trial this morning saying the conditions of criminal trespass were not met. m.bismarcktribune.com 2017.02.23 Court documents filed by Army Corps of Engineers reveal that two days before the Trump administration approved an easement for the Dakota Access pipeline to cross a reservoir near the Standing Rock reservation, the Department of the Interior withdrew a legal opinion that concluded there was “ample legal justification” to deny it. abcnews.go.com (See also Department of the Interior, First 100 Days) 2017.03.03 Most of the steel for the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipeline projects appears to have been manufactured in Canada by a subsidiary of the Russian steel giant Evraz, not in America as directed in Trump's February 16 executive order. ecowatch.com (See also Keystone XL Pipeline, Conflicts of Interest) 2017.03.05 Trump reverses pledge to use U.S. Steel for Keystone Pipeline instead deciding to buy the steel from a Russian Billionaire Oligarch with close ties to Putin. huffingtonpost.com (See also Russia, First 100 Days, Keystone XL Pipeline, Trade, Conflicts of Interest, Promises vs Actions)
Given Trump's known conflicts of interest and investments in both Energy Transfer Partners and Phillips 66 (who will retain a 25% stake in the operation of the pipeline upon completion), the decision to press the Army Corp of Engineers to reverse their decision is not a surprise.