President-elect Donald Trump, who recently expressed his support for the Dakota Access Pipeline, has said through his transition team that he's planning to review Obama's decision to deny a permit for the project.
After months of protest by Native Americans and environmentalists, the Army Corps of Engineers announced on Sunday that it's not allowing Energy Transfers Partners to build a pipeline under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, pending an environmental review.
Donald Trump's transition team, however, could potentially reverse the decision once the President-elect occupies the White House, as reported by The Independent.
The pipeline "is something we support construction of, and we will review the situation when we are in the White House to make the appropriate determination at that time," says Jason Miller, a spokesperson for the Trump transition team, in a press briefing with reporters Monday.Critics lambasted Trump for backing the DAPL project, pointing out that he has done so because he owns a stake in Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline.
The Trump transition team denied that Trump backed the project not to protect his personal investments, but to bolster the policy proposals he plans to set in motion once he assumes the presidency.
His support for the Dakota Access Pipeline "has nothing to do with his personal investments and everything to do with promoting policies that benefit all Americans," says the Donald Trump transition team.
"Those making such a claim are only attempting to distract from the fact that President-elect Trump has put forth serious policy proposals he plans to set in motion on Day One."As previously reported by Bloomberg, Donald Trump owned between $500,000 and $1 million of stock in Energy Transfer Partners LP, which generated $15,000 to $50,000 of income in 2015. Spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed Monday that Trump already sold those shares. The President-elect also owns between $100,000 and $250,000 worth of shares in Phillips 66, one of the owners of the DAPL project. Activists have staged protests against the installation of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a lake near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, warning that it will damage water resources and sacred Native American sites.
On Thursday, U.S. military veterans arrived at one of the camps to join thousands of activists in protesting the pipeline.
Donald Trump supports another pipeline project, Transcanada's Keystone XL, the implementation of which was rejected by President Barack Obama last year.
Republican North Dakota Senator John Hoeven said he discussed the delayed Dakota Access Pipeline project with Trump's transition team.
"Today, Mr. Trump expressed his support for the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has met or exceeded all environmental standards set forth by four states and the Army Corps of Engineers," Hoeven said in a statement.
"It is important to know that the new administration will work to help us grow and diversify our energy economy and build the energy infrastructure necessary to move it from where it is produced to where it is needed," he added.
Trump made it clear during his election campaign that he intends to implement drastic changes in the country's energy policy, specifically in ways that favor oil and natural gas produces. He also said that he will reverse Obama's decision to deny the installation of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Protests against the DAPL project have resulted to hundreds of arrests. Donald Trump has pledged support for the pipeline projects, saying that they will speed up oil and natural gas production in the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said that Obama's decision to put a stop to the installation of the Dakota Access Pipeline was driven by concerns that the environmental review was not substantive enough to warrant approval.
"Issues have been raised that are a great concern to many people, and it is appropriate we use the current system to make sure we're looking at all the environmental impacts," McCarthy told reporters Monday at a Christian Science Monitor event.
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]