Trump signs executive orders on Keystone XL and Dakota pipelines

Get ready to go back to work pipeliners!  I know today was a day the my late brother Jasen Leach who worked for the Pipeliners Local Union 798 would have been very happy  to see today.

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It’s official, Trump signed executive orders that will make it easier for TransCanada to construct the Keystone XL pipeline and for Energy Transfer Partners to build the final uncompleted portion of the Dakota Access pipeline ,according to which the US will renegotiate terms on the two pipelines.

Trump said “if the US build pipelines, the pipes should be made in the US” and added that “order streamlines cumbersome manufacturing regulations.” He called the regulatory process a “tangled up mess.”Trump told  also told reporters in the Oval Office that the moves on the pipelines will be subject to the terms and conditions being renegotiated by the U.S.

EX President Barack Obama killed the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in late 2015, saying it would hurt American efforts to reach a global climate change deal. The pipeline would run from Canada to U.S. refineries in the Gulf Coast. The U.S. government needs to approve the pipeline because it crossed the border.

The Keystone XL would bring oil from Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska, where it would connect to an existing pipeline to bring the crude to Illinois. Former President Barack Obama refused to approve the cross-border project, saying the environmental review was not adequate in light of its route through the Sandhills ecosystem in Nebraska.

Keystone XL pipeline route, source: TransCanada


More details from Bloomberg:

Keystone was rejected under former President Barack Obama. Trump’s move on Energy Transfer Partners LP’s 1,172-mile Dakota Access project aims to end a standoff that has stalled the $3.8 billion project since September, when the Obama administration halted work on land near Lake Oahe in North Dakota.

The moves, taken on Trump’s fourth full day in office, mark a major departure from the Obama administration’s handling of the controversial oil pipelines. The steps vividly illustrate Trump’s plan to give the oil industry more freedom to expand infrastructure and ease transportation bottlenecks.

source: Legal challenges ahead

Both projects could still face challenges, according to Bruce Huber, an associate professor of law at the University of Notre Dame who specializes in environmental, natural resources and energy law.

The Keystone XL pipeline requires state approval, and Nebraska landowners fought a yearslong legal battle with TransCanada over the project. The company withdrew its application with the state’s Public Service Commission in November 2015 after the State Department decision.

Nebraska activists are likely to renew their protests, Huber said.

Trump has less room to maneuver when it comes to the Dakota Access pipeline, he added. The executive order “directs agencies to expedite reviews and approvals for the remaining portions of this pipeline,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer clarified during Tuesday’s news briefing.

Should the Army Corps of Engineers’ current environmental review pave the way for a new route, that plan will likely to face a lawsuit, Huber said.

“Any time you make an environmental analysis there’s always room for a lawsuit on whether the review was complete enough,” he said.

“If he truncates the process or speeds up the process, it just means that lawsuit will happen faster.”


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