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Trump reopens door to building Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines

White House

Trump reopens door to building Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines

President Trump moved Tuesday to revive oil pipeline projects that were blocked by former President Obama, a victory for energy firms whose interests were often thwarted by Obama's environmental agenda.

Trump’s order represents another swift reversal of action taken by his predecessor, in some cases after years of deliberation. On Monday, Trump withdrew from a major 12-nation trade pact that was a priority of Obama's.

But whether the Keystone Pipeline, in particular, will ever actually be built remained unclear. Trump said the project would now be open for renegotiation and said he would demand that it be built using American steel.

“I am very insistent that if we’re going to build pipelines in the United States, the pipe should be made in the United States,” he said.

The project's owner, TransCanada, had been planning to use some American steel in the pipeline. It was unclear how Trump's demand might change the cost of the project.

For more than a year, Obama officials had put off a decision on whether to approve construction of one of the pipelines, the Keystone XL.

After a review by the State Department, which had jurisdiction because the project crossed the U.S.-Canada border, Obama announced in 2015 that he had determined the project was not in the national interest, in part because it would undercut U.S. leadership on fighting climate change.

Obama also cited a decline in oil prices and low unemployment in the states along the pipeline's 1,179-mile route.

Trump also reversed an Army Corps of Engineers decision last month to deny Energy Transfer Partners’ request to extend the Dakota Access pipeline under a section of the Missouri River that included a reservoir providing drinking water to the region.

Opposition to the project, which started with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, grew to include thousands of demonstrators from across the country amassing in North Dakota.

This post was updated with additional comments by Trump.

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