BISMARCK – Following non-stop protests and riots at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline, many have been curious what type of role will President-elect Donald Trump take on the crisis.
Sources are now indicating that Trump actually owns stock in Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company building the disputed oil pipeline. Trump’s 2016 federal disclosure forms show he holds between $15,000 and $50,000 in stock in ETP, as well as $100,000 and $250,000 in Phillips 66, which has a one-quarter share of Dakota Access.
“Trump’s investments in the pipeline business threaten to undercut faith in this process — which was already frayed — by interjecting his own financial well-being into a much bigger decision,” said Sharon Buccino, director of the land and wildlife program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.
Local Tribal leaders have concern over Trump’s holdings, and are weary his new administration could favor the pipeline consortium. The project has been held up while the Army Corps of Engineers consults with the Standing Rock Sioux, who believe the project could harm the tribe’s drinking water and Native American cultural sites.
“This should be about the interests of the many, rather than giving the appearance of looking at the interests of a few — including Trump,” Buccino said.
However, Trump sold a majority of his stock over the summer, in which he originally owned an amount listed at between $500,000 and $1 million. Industry observers in North Dakota feel the sale of the stock, should eliminate concerns of conflict of interest. Pointing out that Trump may have sold the stock due to dropping market prices in those companies, as demonstrations flared up.
During his campaign, Trump has pledged to expedite permits for oil and gas pipelines in order to spur more oil and gas development in the United States.