Immediately after President Donald Trump signed executive orders on Tuesday to advance construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines, Sen. Bernie Sanders released a statement announcing that he will do everything within his power to stop these controversial pipelines. Although Trump claims he no longer owns stock in the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), his assertions remain unverified due to the fact that Trump still refuses to disclose his financial records.
“Millions of people came together all over this country to stop the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and say we must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” Sanders wrote in a statement released on Tuesday. “Today, President Trump ignored the voices of millions and put the short-term profits of the fossil fuel industry ahead of the future of our planet.
“At a time when the scientific community is virtually unanimous in telling us that climate change is real, it is caused by human activity and it is already causing devastating problems, we cannot afford to build new oil pipelines that lock us into burning fossil fuels for years to come. I will do everything I can to stop these pipelines and protect our planet for future generations.”
According to financial disclosure forms released last year, Trump invested between $500,000 and $1 million in Energy Transfer Partners, a Fortune 500 natural gas and propane company constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline, in 2015. That same year, Trump also invested between $50,000 and $100,000 in Phillips 66, an energy corporation owning a one-quarter share in the Dakota pipeline. Last year, Trump reportedly invested between $250,000 and $500,000 in Phillips 66 while investing significantly less money in Energy Transfer Partners.
Although Trump refuses to disclose his tax returns and other financial documents, public records revealed that 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. During Trump’s presidential campaign, 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.
On Tuesday, Trump signed executive orders seeking to revive construction of the controversial Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines while reducing the time taken to conduct environmental reviews on any future projects. According to one of the new executive orders, the Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) will only have 30 days after a request is made to review any potential environmental impacts before approving the project.
In 2015, then-President Barack Obama rejected the construction of the Keystone pipeline due to environmental concerns regarding climate change. Although the Keystone pipeline was designed to transport tar sands crude oil from Canada to Nebraska, Obama and the State Department determined that too much energy would be required in order to extract the crude.
Last month, the Obama administration also rejected plans to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline after several months of protests supporting the rights of indigenous people and the environment. Threatening the drinking water of several Native American tribes, the Dakota pipeline was designed to transport oil from North Dakota to Illinois.
“We can’t afford to build new pipelines that lock us into burning more fossil fuels,” Sanders wrote on Twitter. “I will do everything I can to stop Keystone XL and DAPL.”