Trump to grant final approval for oil pipeline

The Trump administration plans to grant final approval for the Dakota Access pipeline.

Lawyers for the Army Corps of Engineers told a federal court this afternoon that the agency has notified Congress of its intention to grant an easement for the oil pipeline to cross Lake Oahe just north of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

The Army Corps also plans to skip an additional layer of environmental review that Obama administration officials committed to in December.

The announcement comes after months of back-and-forth on the contentious oil pipeline, which would run nearly 1,200 miles from North Dakota to Illinois.

After the Obama administration slowed pipeline construction, President Trump made streamlining the project one of his first orders of business. He issued a presidential memo two weeks ago ordering the Army Corps to reconsider its December decision to do an environmental impact statement that would have considered potential impacts and alternative routes.

Energy Transfer Partners, the Dallas-based company building the oil pipeline, does not need any additional federal approvals, but congressional notification is typically followed by a two-week waiting period before construction begins.

The Army Corps said it intends to waive the two-week waiting period.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has vowed to challenge the decision in court, and activists have vowed to fight the project both in North Dakota and on Capitol Hill.

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