President Donald Trump signed executive orders to advance construction of the controversial Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines.
"From now we are going to start making pipelines in the United States," Trump said from the Oval Office, according to The Associated Press.
Opponents of the DAPL project, which drew strong protests for several months by Native Americans who said the planned pipeline would potentially harm the water sources on tribal lands and disturb sacred areas, immediately responded to Trump's actions.
“These actions by President Trump are insane and extreme, and nothing short of attacks on our ancestral homelands as Indigenous peoples," indigenous rights organizer Dallas Goldtooth said in a statement on Facebook. "The executive orders demonstrate that this administration is more than willing to violate federal law that is meant to protect Indigenous rights, human rights, the environment and the overall safety of communities for the benefit of the fossil fuel industry. These attacks will not be ignored, our resistance is stronger now than ever before and we are prepared to push back at any reckless decision made by this administration.”
Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, through whose land the DAPL pipeline was planned to run, said Trump "is legally required to honor our treaty rights and provide a fair and reasonable pipeline process."
"Americans know this pipeline was unfairly rerouted towards our nation and without our consent," Archambault said, according to KFYR. "The existing pipeline route risks infringing on our treaty rights, contaminating our water and the water of 17 million Americans downstream."
Both pipeline projects had been stalled by former President Barack Obama.
The Keystone XL project was halted in 2015 after Obama rejected a permit due to environmental concerns and questionable economic value, according to Politico.
In November 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers, under the direction of the Obama administration, issued a temporarily stop of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
"Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do," Army Assistant Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said in a statement, according to The Hill. "The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing."
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's statement reminded the Trump administration that the Army Corps of Engineers pledge to conduct a full environmental review to explore alternative sites for the DAPL project.
"However, that environmental review would be circumvented under today's Executive Order, allowing the project to immediately resume construction," the statement said.