One of Donald Trump’s first decisions as president of the USA was to resume construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, drawing the ire of environmentalists and local native tribes. Now his administration has granted the last permit needed for their completion, which now looks to be imminent.
A project halted by Barack Obama was brought back to life in one of newly elected president Donald Trump’s first executive orders. The announcement that the project has been definitively greenlighted, removing all bureaucratic obstacles that have been holding it up, was made by deputy secretary of the army Paul Cramer. In particular, the army is granting a 30-year easement underneath North Dakota’s Lake Oahe to Energy Transfer Partners. Activists have been demonstrating against the project for weeks, citing the contamination risk to soil and aquifers on the lands crossed by the pipeline. Trump sees it as a way to jump start the US economy and create "tens of thousands of jobs," asserting that the environment remains a priority. The incomplete Dakota Access Pipeline is an underground oil pipeline intended for transporting crude oil from the Bakken Formation – on the Montana-North Dakota border, not far from Canada – to Illinois, crossing South Dakota and Iowa. The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) had been required to produce an environmental impact assessment within two years from 18 January, but Trump’s executive order effectively erased that step. Once operational, the $3.7 billion pipeline will carry some 470,000 barrels of crude each day. Now all that remains is to build the last tract and start operating this infrastructure considered essential to US energy security.