Trump to Sign Orders Advancing Keystone, Dakota Access Pipelines

Tue January 24, 2017 - National Edition

President Donald Trump will sign executive actions Tuesday to advance the Keystone XL and Dakota Pipelines, NBC News confirms.

He is expected to sign executive orders regarding both projects in the Oval Office this morning.

The decision is sure to anger environmental advocates who say that the projects would have severe negative impacts on the areas where they are built and would encourage more reliance on fossil fuels. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its allies have vigorously protested the Dakota Access project, saying it would damage cultural sites.

Backers of the pipelines say they will create jobs and cut energy costs.

During a meeting with auto executives earlier Tuesday, Trump described himself as "an environmentalist" but argued that federal regulatory and permitting processes are too drawn out.

"I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist," he said. "I believe in it, but it's out of control and we're going to make a very short process and we're going to either give you your permits or we're not going to give you your permits, but you're going to know very quickly."

The Obama administration rejected the Keystone XL pipeline in November 2015, and it denied a permit for the Dakota Access project late last year.

Trump also was to sign an executive order intended to expedite environmental reviews of other infrastructure projects, noting the existing “incredibly cumbersome, long, horrible permitting process.”