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Trump administration flashes green light for Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines

Donald Trump, the fresh President of the US, has signed orders paving way for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines rejected by the Obama government.

Trump promised during his campaign to approve the pipelines as part of his strategy to revive domestic US energy production and boost the oil and gas industries.

The move is expected to benefit oil producers in Canada and North Dakota, and both local governments and oil companies have expressed their satisfaction with it.

The producers in North Dakota rely on the Dakota Access line to transport crude, while the Keystone XL is set to import oil from Canada’s controversial tar sand deposits.

"It goes to show we as a nation build infrastructure that is part of a comprehensive energy plan to make our energy secure," Republican Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota told Reuters.

Chet Thompson, president and CEO of American Fuel & Petroleum Manufactures, applauded Trump for reviving the pipeline projects.

“Both projects are good for the country, received the required environmental approvals, and never should have been delayed. [This] marks an important step toward improving our nation’s infrastructure, while signifying that this administration is serious about developing a rational energy plan that understands the important role of oil and natural gas to our country’s prosperity,” Thompson said.

But for environmentalists who have campaigned against the pipelines for several years, the new administration’s decision comes as a bitter blow.

Thousands of people gathered in the Standing Rock Indian reservation in late 2016 for months to protest against the Dakota Access pipeline, for which permits were ultimately denied by the Obama administration.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe claims the pipeline were “unfairly and without consent” rerouted towards the tribe’s lands, where they fear the pipes will contaminate not only the reservation’s drinking water but also that of 17 million people downstream.

Hundreds of people have reportedly gathered outside the White House today to picket against the decision.

“A powerful alliance of Indigenous communities, ranchers, farmers, and climate activists stopped the Keystone and the Dakota Access pipelines the first time around, and the same alliances will come together to stop them again if Trump tries to raise them from the dead,” Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard told the Independent.

This article was written by Ilari Kauppila, editor at Fluid Handling International