By Erin McDonough
On January 24, 2017 President Trump signed two Executive Orders designed to revive and expedite the approval for Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline, both of which were denied permits under the previous administration.
Specifically, the EO calls on the U.S. Army Corp to “review and approve in an expedited manner” the Dakota Access Pipeline. TransCanada, Keystone XL’s backer is invited to reapply for its permit, with a call for the State Department to make a decision within 60 days. A key provision is that these companies are both directed to use as much U.S. materials in construction as possible.
While this step does not guarantee final approval of either of these projects, it does open the door for facts to be re-inserted into the conversation. Rhetoric largely drove the decision making around these important pieces of U.S. infrastructure up until this time.
We face a similar scenario here in Michigan, with the calls for closure of Line 5. Calls for closure are premature, while the government (Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Council) is still gathering information on a Risk Analysis and Alternatives Analysis from independent third party contractors.
Pipelines are recognized as the safest, most effective way to transport petroleum and natural gas. If anti-fossil fuel rhetoric can stop the construction of critical U.S. infrastructure and can shut down a piece of critical infrastructure already in operation, what business, utility or infrastructure interest will feel safe to make a long term investment in this country?
To track the status of the Line 5 analyses go to: http://www.michigan.gov/energy/0,4580,7-230-73789_74071---,00.html
For more information on the Dakota Access Pipeline courtesy of our friends at the North Dakota Petroleum Council go to: http://thebakken.com/articles/1773/the-facts-about-dapl