The outgoing administration of Barack Obama announced Friday that it will decide whether or not to allow completion of a controversial oil pipeline Native Americans say will encroach on sacred sites.
But even if the decision is to halt construction, regime change may end in a reversal, and, it turns out, the President-elect has a direct financial interest in companies building the pipeline.
And so does a European government.
A decision on whether the Dakota Access Pipeline will be allowed to be completed near sacred tribal lands in North Dakota will come in the next few days, possibly by Monday, a U.S. government spokeswoman said on Friday.
The statement by spokeswoman Amy Gaskill of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers came as police again confronted protesters at a construction site on the controversial pipeline, which has drawn steady opposition from Native American and environmental activists since the summer.
Smoke was seen emanating from a large excavation vehicle near a site off Route 6 in rural North Dakota, and protesters had also climbed into other equipment, according to a Reuters witness. Two workers were seen leaving the scene.
The Dakota Access Pipeline, set to run from North Dakota to Illinois, was delayed in September so federal authorities could re-review permits. The line was planned to run under a federally owned water source near sacred tribal lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
But if Obama says no, will it matter?
Probably not, according to the CEO of the company building the pipeline.
Donald Trump’s surprise election win has encouraged Energy Transfer Partners’s Kelcy Warren, the CEO of the parent company of Dakota Access LLC, which is building the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). In an interview with CBS This Morning, Warren said he is “100 percent” confident that the president-elect will help the company finish the project.
The Standing Rock Sioux and their allies have been trying to block the controversial project since spring. The planned route cuts through the Missouri River, and protestors fear that a potential spill will contaminate the tribe’s main source of drinking water and destroy sacred sites.
More than 80 percent of the pipeline has already been constructed. The final phase is an easement to build a tunnel beneath the federally protected river, but it first needs approval from the Obama administration.
“We will get this easement and we will complete our project,” Warren insisted in his CBS interview.
Here’s the report from CBS This Morning:
CEO: Dakota Access Pipeline will be completed under Trump presidency
The leader of the company behind the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline believes President-elect Donald Trump will help complete the project. Trump is a stockholder in Energy Transfer Partners, and CEO Kelcy Warren donated to Trump’s campaign. Protesters from more than 200 Native American tribes have been camped out near the site since August. Mark Albert reports.
And a European nation bets on the outcome
Norway has harvested billions from their North Sea oil holdings, and they’ve invested all those petrodollars in pension funds which have a wide range of holdings — including three companies with direct interest in the pipleine.
The pension funds of 650,000 Norwegians are invested in four companies with financial interests in the heavily disputed oil pipeline project that has attracted massive protests in the US state of North Dakota.
The National Local Government Pension Fund (KLP) confirmed on Tuesday that it has invested in firms involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) project, which would transfer crude oil across the Midwest. Indigenous people of the United States have been vehemently opposed to the project, saying that it desecrates sacred tribal lands, violates land treaties and threatens the drinking water of millions of people.
Annie Bersagel, an investment advisor for responsible at KLP, told Aftenposten that the pension fund continuously monitors all of its investments to ensure that they do not violate guidelines for responsible investment. She said that in severe cases like that of the DAPL the fund will “contact companies for a follow-up”. Bersagel said that dropping investments takes time but that “KLP and the KLP funds expect companies we are invested in to respect human rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples.”
But KLP is far from alone. The pension fund is the fourth Norwegian organization found to have interests in the pipeline, which has spurred one of the biggest indigenous conflicts in the US over the past 100 years.
Norway’s massive sovereign oil fund has 6.7 billion kroner [$9.8 million — esnl] invested in three companies whose various subsidiaries are involved in the ownership, construction and operation of the controversial pipeline.
And somebody else has a vested interest in the pipeline
And the company in question is the same one whose CEO says Trump will allow the pipeline to go through.
From a 26 October story from the Guardian:
Donald Trump’s close financial ties to Energy Transfer Partners, operators of the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline, have been laid bare, with the presidential candidate invested in the company and receiving more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from its chief executive.
Trump’s financial disclosure forms show the Republican nominee has between $500,000 and $1m invested in Energy Transfer Partners, with a further $500,000 to $1m holding in Phillips 66, which will have a 25% stake in the Dakota Access project once completed. The information was disclosed in Trump’s monthly filings to the Federal Election Commission, which requires candidates to disclose their campaign finance information on a regular basis.
The financial relationship runs both ways. Kelcy Warren, chief executive of Energy Transfer Partners, has given $103,000 to elect Trump and handed over a further $66,800 to the Republican National Committee since the property developer secured the GOP’s presidential nomination.