President Donald Trump intends to take action today to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, according to a person familiar with the matter.
TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone pipeline was rejected under former President Barack Obama, and Energy Transfer Partners LP’s $3.8 billion Dakota Access project was stalled when the Obama administration halted work on in on land near Lake Oahe in North Dakota amid protests by Native American groups.
The moves, taken on Trump’s fourth full day in office, illustrate his plan to fulfill his campaign pledge to give the oil industry more freedom to expand infrastructure, create jobs and ease transportation bottlenecks.
TransCanada climbed as much as 1.1 percent to C$63.25 at 9:33 a.m. in New York. Energy Transfer Equity LP and Energy Transfer Partners LP climbed as much as 3.3 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
TransCanada had no immediate comment on the president’s proposed actions and Energy Transfer didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for the Standing Rock tribe that opposes the Dakota project says they’ll comment "if it happens."
White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday said Trump’s goal was to balance environmental protection and projects that can grow jobs and the economy.
TransCanada may need to submit another formal application to build the pipeline. But the company’s plans for Keystone XL already have been vetted, with years of environmental scrutiny culminating in former President Barack Obama’s 2015 decision that the pipeline was not in the U.S. interest.
TransCanada has not said it would reapply for permission to build the pipeline, but the day after Trump’s election, the Calgary-based company said it was looking for ways to convince the new administration of the project’s benefits to the U.S. economy. The company has previously said it remains "committed to Keystone XL."
Environmentalists fiercely battled the project, making it a flashpoint in broader debates about U.S. energy policy and climate change. Landowners in the pipeline’s path warned that a spill of dense crude could contaminate the Ogallala aquifer, a source of drinking water that stretches from Texas to South Dakota. And activists said it would promote further development of oil sands in Alberta, Canada that generally require more energy to extract.
Dakota Access opponents say the pipeline would damage sites culturally significant to Native Americans and pose an environmental hazard where it crosses the Missouri River. Earlier this month, the Department of the Army withheld the final easement necessary for construction beneath the lake.