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President Trump Signs Executive Orders to Advance the Keystone Xl and Dakota Access Pipelines

On January 24, 2017, President Donald Trump signed a series of Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda:


  • …in keeping with his promise to reduce the burden of regulations and expedite high priority energy and infrastructure projects that will create jobs and increase national security.

Included therein were two Memoranda designed to advance the Keystone XL (KXL) and Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) projects, both of which have been lightning rods for controversy. In response to the Presidential Memoranda, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) quickly approved the final easement needed to complete the DAPL.

In the DAPL Memorandum, President Trump ordered the Corps:

“…to take all actions necessary and appropriate to….review and approve in an expedited manner, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, … requests for approvals to construct and operate the DAPL.”

President Trump also ordered the Corps to:

“…consider, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted, whether to rescind or modify the memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works dated December 4, 2016 … and whether to withdraw the Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in Connection with Dakota Access, LLC’s Request for an Easement to Cross Lake Oahe, North Dakota, dated January 18, 2017[.]”

These Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda issued by President Trump represent some of the first actions taken for the purpose of rolling back climate change and energy-related policies and decisions of the Obama administration. As these actions continue, it is likely that lawsuits in opposition to these actions will be filed in courts from coast-to-coast.

(Martin P. Stratte)