In one of his first official actions as president, Donald Trump has signed two executive orders effectively reversing former President Barack Obama's decision to halt construction of the Keystone Dakota Access Pipeline. The move was met by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's vow to continue resisting construction of the pipeline through the tribe's sacred land.
"Americans know this pipeline was unfairly rerouted towards our nation and without our consent," Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Tribe, stated, reports Reuters. "The existing pipeline route risks infringing on our treaty rights, contaminating our water and the water of 17 million Americans downstream."
“We’re going to put a lot of … steel workers back to work,” Trump said of the executive orders, according to Fox News. “We’ll build our own pipelines, we will build our own pipes.”
On Dec. 5, the U.S. army corps of engineers denied construction permits for the pipeline to cross the Missouri River.
"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,” Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, the sole congressional representative for the state of North Dakota, said.
“President Trump is legally required to honor our treaty rights and provide a fair and reasonable pipeline process,” Archambault II continued, notes The Guardian. “Creating a second Flint does not make America great again.”
“These are attacks on our ancestral homelands,” Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network and member of the Mdewakanton Dakota and Dine tribes, said. “These orders demonstrate that [President Trump] is more than willing to violate federal law that protects the environment and protects our communities and protects indigenous rights for the benefit of oil and gas.”
“We made a strong case with the new administration for approving an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline project without delay," Republican Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota said, reports Reuters. "The company has complied with all federal and state requirements and should be allowed to complete the project. Today, the Trump administration followed the law and reversed the Obama administration’s decision to delay the project.”