As the struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, North Dakota, heads into its eighth month, new information regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s connection to the pipeline raises troubling questions.
According to federal disclosure forms filed in May, Trump owned between $500,000 and $1,000,000 of stock in Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based company behind the pipeline. But by mid-summer, the value of his shares had plummeted to around $50,000. The forms also suggest that he held between $100,000 and $250,000 in stock in another company involved in the pipeline’s construction, Phillips 66.
Hope Hicks, a Trump spokesperson, said last week that Trump has since sold his shares in Energy Transfer Partners. But even if that’s true, Trump presumably still owns stock in Phillips 66, which has a 25 percent stake in the pipeline.
Trump’s’s approval of the Dakota Access pipeline could qualify as a conflict of interest in other ways. Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, donated $1.53 million in campaign contributions to super PACs and $252,300 to individual campaigns and the GOP, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Warren also gave a generous $100,000 contribution to the Trump Victory Fund, a fundraising committee that distributes money to Trump’s campaign and Republican parties at both state and national levels.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is only the latest in a series of revelations concerning Trump’s dubious business ties both nationally and internationally. Should Trump approve the pipeline, it would not only be a slap in the face to Native Americans and the environment, but also a blatant case of pay-to-play politics.
Trump has consistently expressed support for the fossil fuel industry. When he takes the oath of office in January, he’ll be the only world leader who denies the science behind climate change.
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is also in the running, serves on the board of directors of Energy Transfer Partners. Each of these appointments casts doubt on Trump’s many pledges to take special interests out of politics and close the revolving door between Washington and the private sector.
Fossil fuel industry executives, naturally, are looking forward to the incoming Trump Administration. Kelcy Warren said:
“Do I think it’s going to get easier? Of course. If you’re in the infrastructure business, you need consistency. That’s where this process has gotten off track.”
Fighting For The Future
The “water protectors” – Native American protesters and their allies – are working hard to ensure that the whole world knows what Trump and his cronies in the fossil fuel industry are up to. They charge that the pipeline risks the health of the Missouri River, a primary water source for their community.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose ancestral lands lie perilously close to the pipeline, filed an injunction against its construction. Tribal members claim they were not properly consulted about the project.
In late September, Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council, calling for an end to the pipeline’s construction:
“The oil companies and the government of the United States have failed to respect our sovereign rights. … [They want] to build an oil pipeline under the river that is the source of our nation’s drinking water.”
Watch the DAPL cops rough up protesters below:
Featured image via YouTube video.