Conflicts of Interest: Businessman Donald Trump Has Investment in Dakota Access Pipeline
November 15, 2016 teleSURtv & Lorraine Chow / EcoWatch
The Sheriff's Department arrested 40 Water Protectors at the Standing Rock land defense action in North Dakota as Energy Transfer Partners, whose CEO Kelcy Warren was a major supporter of Donald Trump's election campaign, pledged to continue construction of the USD$3.7 billion pipeline project despite lacking the proper permits.
Standing Rock: New Arrests as
Key Obama Admin Decision Looms teleSURtv
(November 12, 2016) -- On Friday the Morton County Sheriff's Department arrested 40 Water Protectors at the Standing Rock land defense action in North Dakota as Energy Transfer Partners, whose CEO Kelcy Warren was a major supporter of Donald Trump's election campaign, pledged to continue construction of the USD$3.7 billion pipeline project despite lacking the proper permits.
The arrests came on the same day as the Army Corps of Engineers, which has jurisdiction over construction projects on lands claimed by the US government, said it would release its decision on the future of the project early next week.
Army Corps representatives also issued a statement saying, "any work must adhere to federal regulations," and "failure to comply can bring legal action. Construction without proper permits or easements in place can result in fines and legal action."
Over 400 people have been violently arrested since the land and water defense action, led by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Water Protectors and supported by thousands of Indigenous activists from across the Americas, began last April.
Sources told Politico on Friday that President Obama is expected to formally approve the pipeline on Standing Rock Sioux land despite earlier suggesting that the project could be re-routed due to concerns about water contamination and the destruction of sacred sites.
A recent report said that the original environmental assessment of the project was "seriously deficient" and failed to properly assess the risks posed by pipeline leaks.
Chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, David Archambault, said in a statement, "the only possible path forward for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is a decision that denies the easement or subjects it to a full environmental impact statement and tribal consultation." He continued, "the only urgency here arises from DAPL's reckless decision to build to either side of the Missouri River without a permit."
In the lead up to Tuesday´s national day of action in solidarity with Standing Rock, Chairman Archambault said, "We thank all of the people around the world that have joined us in urging President Obama to do the right thing." He added, "we ask everyone to join us in peaceful and prayerful opposition as we await this important decision."
The pipeline project was originally slated to be built close to Bismarck, North Dakota, but was re-routed to cross Standing Rock Sioux territory after the largely white residents of Bismarck raised concerns about potential spills.
While some are hopeful that President Obama will choose to respect Indigenous land and treaty rights by rerouting the pipeline, others are calling on Obama to cancel the project entirely given the grave risks the project poses to the climate.
(November 11, 2016) -- The CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the company buidling the Dakota Access oil pipeline, believes President-elect Trump will advance the project. Trump is a stockholder in ETP and the CEO has donated to Trump's campaign.
(November 11, 2016) -- Donald Trump's surprise election win has encouraged Energy Transfer Partners's Kelcy Warren, the CEO of the parent company of Dakota Access LLC, which is building the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). In an interview with CBS This Morning, Warren said he is "100 percent" confident that the president-elect will help the company finish the project.
The Standing Rock Sioux and their allies have been trying to block the controversial project since spring. The planned route cuts through the Missouri River, and protestors fear that a potential spill will contaminate the tribe's main source of drinking water and destroy sacred sites.
More than 80 percent of the pipeline has already been constructed. The final phase is an easement to build a tunnel beneath the federally protected river, but it first needs approval from the Obama administration.
"We will get this easement and we will complete our project," Warren insisted in his CBS interview.
The US Army Corps of Engineers is mulling alternative routes and has requested a temporary halt to the $3.8 billion project but Dakota Access LLC is pushing ahead with construction. According to a Nov. 8 release, the company said it is "currently mobilizing horizontal drilling equipment to the drill box site" and will commence drilling activities upon completion of mobilization in about two weeks.
Yesterday, Army Corps's Omaha office said it was "concerned" that the company plans to continue building despite the Corps's request.
Trump has not spoken about the DAPL but holds stocks that are directly funding the Dakota Access Pipeline. According to Trump's financial disclosure forms, The Guardian reported that he has invested between $500,000 and $1 million in Energy Transfer Partners.
The ardent supporter of fossil fuels wants to bring back the Keystone XL and announced plans to undo President Obama's climate change and environmental policies.
Warren said he has "never met" Trump but has donated $103,000 to his presidential campaign. He believes the DAPL will result in cheaper oil and more jobs.
Warren, however, brushed off any leak concerns: "I'm not gonna win that argument with you because pipelines do leak. It's rare. I think the chances of this pipeline leaking is extremely remote."
The Texas businessman went on to say that the protestors "will not stop our project, that's naive."
DAPL opponents have also responded to Trump's win. Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II told Yes! Magazine the day after the election he hopes that the new commander-in-chief will be sympathetic:
"We have to be hopeful and mindful that the new president understands what we're about. We're about protecting our future. And that's what he should be about. He should think, How can I protect my future so that 50 years from now, 100 years from now, there's something there?
And that if we continue to do what we're doing at the pace that we're doing it, in 50 years we're going to see mass destruction because Mother Earth cannot sustain herself with all the activity that's taking place.
"So if there's an understanding of that, we can build relationships, and we can work together on how to make this place better and to salvage what is left."
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