Standing Rock: Donald Trump resurrects Dakota pipeline projects

United States President Donald Trump has moved to resurrect the controversial Dakota and Keystone XL pipeline projects, fulfilling another election campaign promise just four days into his term.

On Tuesday (local time) Mr Trump signed two executive actions which will advance the approval of the oil pipelines, reversing efforts by President Barack Obama to halt their construction.

The actions streamline the regulatory and environmental review processes for their construction, and declare oil pipelines built in the US should be built with US materials.

Mr Trump highlighted the jobs which would be created by the Keystone XL Pipeline, which is planned to run from Alberta, Canada, through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska: "A lot of jobs; 28,000 jobs. Great construction jobs."

Donald Trump Dakota Pipeline Standing Rock
The executive orders will streamline the construction of the Dakota and Keystone XL pipelines (Reuters)

The US$3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline was the subject of a major protest movement in 2016 because its planned route ran immediately above the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

Pipeline opponents were quick to condemn Mr Trump's actions.

"President Trump is legally required to honour our treaty rights and provide a fair and reasonable pipeline process," Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement.

"Americans know this pipeline was unfairly rerouted towards our nation and without our consent. The existing pipeline route risks infringing on our treaty rights, contaminating our water and the water of 17 million Americans downstream."

The resurrection of the pipeline projects is the latest in a number of Obama Administration policies which Mr Trump has reversed merely days into his term.

On Monday, he withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), reinstated the Mexico City Policy concerning the promotion of abortions, and froze federal workforce hiring.


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