Energy Transfer Partners is the company behind the infamous and controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, and it turns out that Donald Trump is an investor. To the tune of as much as $1 million. The source of this potentially campaign devastating information? Donald Trump’s own Public Financial Disclosure Report, which Trump filed before beginning his Republican presidential campaign. In addition, and something that those diligently protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline might find even more offensive, Trump is reportedly making money off of his investment. Or at least he was in 2015, reports ABC News.
According to the financial forms he submitted to the government before he began his presidential bid, the Dakota Access Pipeline made Donald Trump as much as $50,000, or at least its parent company did. It is believed that Trump has invested somewhere between $500,000 and $1 million in the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, although the precise figure is still unknown. In order for the public to get a more accurate assessment of how much of Donald Trump’s money is invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline, the presidential candidate would have to release his tax returns.
Something that he has utterly refused to do in a campaign decision that is unprecedented in modern presidential politics.
Donald Trump is expected to win the state of North Dakota handily in the upcoming general election, and with it three electoral votes. It is unclear whether or not the news that Donald Trump has a vested financial interest in the Dakota Access Pipeline could impact his political favorability in the state.
The Dakota Access Pipeline has been a lightning rod of controversy since it was announced, and earlier this summer, activists put their time and money where their mouths are by literally moving to the disputed site, protesting continuously and doing everything in their power (both legally and not-so-legally) to stop the construction of the pipeline. According to protesters and activists, many of whom are members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline is destroying sacred sites. In addition, many Native Americans in the area believe that the pipeline (which will run under multiple rivers) could contaminate their water supply.
The protests against the 1,172 Dakota Access Pipeline have remained largely non-violent, but not entirely. Last month, protesters (including children) were attacked by private security guards and their weaponized dogs after they attempted to stop construction workers with heavy equipment from further damaging sacred sites in the way of the Dakota Access Pipeline. According to Steve Sitting Bear, who has been a spokesman for the protesters, dozens of people were injured by dogs and pepper spray in the September 3 incident, one of them a child.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe is still fighting the pipeline, a pipeline now known to be at least partially funded by Donald Trump’s investments in Energy Transfer Partners, with hundreds of protesters still camping at the disputed site. In addition to a large and very controversial protest, a protest that even drew Green Party candidate Jill Stein (she allegedly spray painted graffiti on a bulldozer and an arrest warrant was issued), the Standing Rock Sioux tribe has been fighting a very intensive battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline through the courts.
In September, a federal judge ruled against the Native American tribe and the rest of the protesters vehemently opposed to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, saying in part that construction of the disputed line could continue near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. However, multiple federal agencies got involved in the matter almost immediately thereafter.
“Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time. The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved — including the pipeline company and its workers — deserves a clear and timely resolution. In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.”
Just last week, however, around the time Donald Trump was preparing for the second presidential debate, an appeals court ruled against the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and determined that Dakota Access Pipeline construction can continue. The tribe vows to continue their fight against the pipeline, which is designed to funnel crude oil across four U.S. States, to the bitter end.
As far as Energy Transfer Partners is concerned, the CEO of the company that Donald Trump reportedly invested up to $1 million and says that the complaints of the Native American and other protesters are unfounded and denies that the Dakota Access Pipeline threatens either water or sacred sites.
“Concerns about the pipeline’s impact on the local water supply are unfounded…multiple archaeological studies conducted with state historic preservation offices found no sacred items along the route.”
It is unclear whether or not Donald Trump’s reported investment into the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline will have any impact on his voter base, as the project is one supported by many Republicans.
[Featured Image by JStone/Shutterstock]