LITTLE ROCK — President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed executive orders to advance the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects, a move that was hailed by members of Arkansas’ congressional delegation and criticized by the Arkansas Sierra Club.
“The fact that this was one of the first items on President Trump’s agenda speaks volumes about how his administration will prioritize job creation, energy infrastructure and economic opportunity,” Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., said in a statement Tuesday.
“After years of needless delays and partisan obstruction from the previous administration, it is encouraging to see the president take immediate action that will benefit Americans and our economy,” he said.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said in a statement, “Building the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines will lower energy costs and create jobs across the country and in Arkansas at places like Welspun Tubular. Producing more American-made energy also makes us safer by decreasing our reliance on the turbulent Middle East. These pipelines are a win for both Arkansas and America, and I applaud the president for supporting them.”
Little Rock-based Welspun Tubular was contracted to build more than 700 miles of pipe for the proposed Canada-to-Houston Keystone XL pipeline before former President Barack Obama rejected the project in 2015 because of concerns about its impact on the environment.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and other Native American groups have protested the Dakota Access pipeline project in North Dakota, saying it would endanger their water supplies and disturb sacred burial grounds. The Army Corps of Engineers halted the project in December to consider alternative routes for the pipeline.
Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, said Tuesday, “In his first week on the job, President Trump is proving that he is serious about North American energy independence, job growth, and private infrastructure spending.
“Keystone has already produced over 600 jobs in central Arkansas and would create thousands of ready-to-launch private sector American jobs, while having a minimal impact on the environment. These are the pro-growth decisions that the president promised the American people, and I will continue to work with him to support American energy and job growth,” he said.
Glen Hooks, director of the Arkansas Sierra Club, said in a statement, “If Donald Trump were truly a good businessman, he would not encourage dirty, dangerous tar sands development when clean energy is growing faster, producing more jobs and has a real future.
“Trump claims he cares about the American people, but he’s allowing oil companies to steal and threaten their land by constructing dirty and dangerous pipelines through it. Trump claims he wants to protect people’s clean air and water, but he’s permitting a tar sand superhighway that will endanger both and hasten the climate crisis.”