President Donald Trump is due to sign executive orders advancing the construction of the controversial Keystone XL and North Dakota Access pipelines on his fourth day in office, Politico reported, quoting a person familiar with the matter.
In a December interview to FoxNews, Trump indicated he'd make "a decision fairly quickly" on the Keystone XL oil pipeline that President Barack Obama vetoed in 2015 after years-long analysis on the environmental impact of the project, which would stretch from the Canadian province of Alberta all the way to Texas.
Protests against the construction of the North Dakota pipeline were carried out throughout 2016. The protests were backed by a number of military veterans, who travelled to the Standing Rock Sioux protest camp to protect demonstrators. A number of actors have also voiced opposition, including Mark Ruffalo, Susan Sarandon and Shailene Woodley, who was also arrested for taking part in one of the protests.
In November, federal government decided to delay work on the pipeline, which is due to cross through lands sacred to Native American communities on its 1,172-mile (1,885-km) path from North Dakota to Illinois. The project was dubbed an "environmental crime" by Robert F. Kennedy Jr, founder and president of Waterkeeper Alliance.
After Trump won the presidential election, concerns were raised over his financial relation to the company building the building the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners. The president's 2016 federal disclosure forms showed that he owned between $15,000 and $50,000 (£12,000-£40,000) in stock in the company which is building the pipeline, as well as owning stock in Phillips 66, which has a 25% share of Dakota Access. Trump's pick for Secretary of Energy Rick Perry sits on the board of Energy Transfer Partners.
Energy Transfer Partners and its subsidiary, Sunoco Logistics Partners have asked a US court to "end the administration's political interference in the Dakota Access Pipeline review process". The company is committed to completing the project without finding an alternative route, and it has said the project is legal and needs no further government approvals.