Despite his investments in the energy firms behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, President-elect Donald Trump announced this week his support for completing the controversial pipeline without regard for the safety of the environment or the indigenous people protecting their land. Although Trump invested between $250,000 and $550,000 in the energy companies this year alone, his delusional transition team dismissed any appearance of a conflict of interest.
According to financial disclosure forms released earlier this year, Trump invested between $500,000 and $1 million in Energy Transfer Partners, a Fortune 500 natural gas and propane company constructing the pipeline, in 2015. Trump also invested between $50,000 and $100,000 last year in Phillips 66, an energy corporation owning a one-quarter share in the Dakota pipeline. This year, Trump reportedly invested between $250,000 and $500,000 in Phillips 66 while investing significantly less money in Energy Transfer Partners.
In a daily briefing note sent to campaign supporters and congressional staff this week, Trump’s transition team refused to acknowledge the blatant conflict of interest between Trump’s personal investments and his political support to complete building the Dakota Access Pipeline. Trump’s team recently stated, “Those making such a claim are only attempting to distract from the fact that President-elect Trump has put forth serious policy proposals he plans to set in motion on Day One.”
But according to public records, Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren contributed $103,000 in support of Trump’s election while donating an additional $66,800 to the Republican National Committee. Despite the fact that political contributions are not legally considered as bribes in the U.S., Trump cannot escape the appearance of a flagrant conflict of interest.
Asserting that “crony capitalism will run his administration,” Greenpeace spokesperson Mary Sweeters recently told The Guardian, “This is the definition of corruption. The president of the United States should not be trading favors with oil and gas corporations. Millions of people will lose access to a clean water supply, including the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and the rest of America will face the impacts of catastrophic climate change from burning fossil fuels.”
In response to Trump’s notorious disregard for environmental protection and the rights of indigenous people, Greenpeace published a list of the president-elect’s other disclosed fossil fuel investments and the amounts of money that he provided to each corporation. Included on Trump’s investment list were Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, ExxonMobil, Shell, Halliburton, and many others.