WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Kevin Cramer announced President Donald Trump signed executive orders this morning addressing two crucial energy infrastructure projects that had been obstructed by the Obama Administration – the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline.
One order directs all federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to expedite approval of the easement to complete construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline project. Another order invites the Trans Canada Corporation to resubmit its application for the Keystone XL Pipeline and directs the State Department to expedite its review. “Today’s executive orders affirm President Trump’s respect for the rule of law and his support for responsible infrastructure development, energy production and job creation,” said Cramer.
Construction on the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline was halted by the Obama Administration in September after its developers had met every legal requirement to complete the project. Now more than 90 percent complete, the $3.7 billion private project will deliver as many as 570,000 barrels of oil a day from northwestern North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to connect to existing pipelines in Illinois. President Obama stopped the approval of an easement to cross U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property across the Missouri River at Lake Oahe in Morton County.
Since last summer, protesters have illegally occupied federal land in Morton County near the pipeline construction site, damaging equipment, roads, bridges, livestock and private property. “The meddling by the Obama Administration in trying to block this legally permitted project has encouraged civil disobedience, threatened the safety of local residents, and placed an onerous financial burden on local law enforcement — with no offer of federal reimbursement for these increasing costs,” he said.
Cramer has asked the Trump Administration to pay for law enforcement costs near the protest site and provide federal police to protect construction workers. “Legally permitted infrastructure projects must be allowed to proceed without threat of improper governmental interference,” he said. “This conflict deserves peaceful resolution and I hope the extreme environmentalists leading the protest will not further endanger themselves, Morton County residents, construction workers, and law enforcement.”
In the last session of Congress, Cramer introduced H.R. 3, the Keystone XL Pipeline Act, which passed the House Jan. 9, 2015. The Senate version of the bill, S.1, passed in both chambers. The bill authorized the construction, connection, operation, and maintenance of the pipeline, deeming the Secretary of State’s January 2014 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, and all other federal agency consultation or review. President Obama vetoed the legislation the following month on Feb. 24.
“As it did when first proposed nearly a decade ago, the Keystone XL Pipeline holds the promise of new jobs and North American energy security,” said Cramer. ”Also, as co-chair of the House Northern Border Caucus, I am particularly pleased the Keystone XL Pipeline offers the opportunity to do business with Canada, our longtime ally and oldest trading partner.”