Union Leaders Discuss Dakota Access on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Hardball with Chris Matthews

Mark McManus, president of the Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders, & Service Techs and Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday morning to discuss President Trump’s infrastructure plans and recent executive actions to advance the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines.

Trump’s support for the pipeline projects came a day after McManus and O’Sullivan joined other union leaders at the White House for a meeting with President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and other top aids for a conversation on the nation’s infrastructure needs.

Speaking about Dakota Access, O’Sullivan told co-host Joe Scarborough that the project created thousands of “good middle class jobs,” including 4,500 building trades men and women.

In a separate appearance, McManus and O’Sullivan told Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball” that they were “more than encouraged” by their meeting with Trump and his subsequent executive actions to advance the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines.

“This was a big day,” said O’Sullivan. “Less than 24 hours ago we were in the Roosevelt Room and the Oval Office — Mark, myself, and some other labor leaders — talking about these very issues and in less than 24 hours there’s five executive orders that are going to make a difference in our economy, our country, and in the lives of men and women we represent.”


No More Keystone Capers

President Trump is making short work of campaign promises, and on Tuesday he signed executive orders reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. The resurrection is good news for the economy, but one question is whether he’ll sink the projects with his protectionist impulses.

Mr. Trump signed an executive order inviting TransCanada to apply again for a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which the Obama Administration rejected to indulge the anti-carbon obsessions of Democratic campaign donors. Another Trump directive aims to expedite the Dakota Access pipeline, which is 90% finished but was halted by President Obama amid protests. A federal judge ruled that the government had met its legal obligations, but the Obama Administration suspended work anyway.

Such carve outs for progressive constituencies are one reason voters rejected Democrats in November, and the pipelines promise broader prosperity. Keystone is predicted to spin off 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs, many of them to be filled by union workers, and add $3 billion to GDP. The pipeline could move 830,000 barrels a day along the route from Alberta to Nebraska; up to 100,000 would come from North Dakota, where a glut of crude has to travel by rail to reach refineries built to process it. The efficiencies will ripple across the oil and gas industry.

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U.S. Energy Takes a Major Step Forward

For years, the Obama administration used its executive authority to obstruct two crucial energy infrastructure projects: the Dakota Access pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline.

Today, the obstruction finally came to an end when President Donald Trump signed two executive orders. This action affirms our new president’s respect for the rule of law and his support for responsible infrastructure development, energy production, and job creation.

One of the executive orders directs all federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to expedite approval of the easement to complete construction of the Dakota Access pipeline project.

Another order invites the TransCanada Corp. to resubmit its application for the Keystone XL pipeline and directs the State Department to expedite its review.

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Dakota Access Memo Cheers Pipeline Supporters

A pair of agency-directed memos signed Tuesday by President Donald Trump could force completion of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota as well as breathe new life into the Canadian-based Keystone XL pipeline.

Trump’s memo did not grant a drilling easement for the $3.8 billion Dakota Access project to cross U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land on the Missouri River/Lake Oahe but directs the agency to expedite review with the idea that prior reviews already satisfy federal law.

Congressman Kevin Cramer said he believes the memo will force the agency to rescind the decision it made last week to begin a full-blown environmental impact statement on the crossing and issue an easement in short order.

Cramer said he made contact Tuesday with federal law enforcement agencies, including the CIA and the U.S. Marshal service, in anticipation of pushback from hundreds of pipeline protesters camped near the water crossing just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation when construction resumes.

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Statement on President Trump’s Executive Order on the Dakota Access Pipeline

MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement following President Trump’s signing of an executive order directing the federal government to expedite the issuance of the final, already approved, easement for the Dakota Access pipeline:

“We applaud and appreciate President Trump’s immediate and decisive action to expedite the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline. President Trump’s decision shows businesses that the rule of law will be respected and demonstrates an affirmation of regulatory certitude to those looking to invest in America.

“The 1,172-mile project has been fully approved by four states and the federal government for months and is more than 95 percent complete at a cost of about $3.5 billion so far. Once operational, it will be among the safest, most technologically advanced pipelines in the world, delivering more than 450,000 barrels of light sweet crude oil per day in an environmentally sensitive and cost effective manner.”

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Statement on President Trump’s Expected Approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline

MAIN Coalition spokesman Craig Stevens issued the following statement in response to news that President Trump will sign an executive order allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to move forward:

“We are hopeful and optimistic that President Trump will issue the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline and allow Keystone to move forward. It will not only be a positive development for these two projects but also for our nation’s resource development and energy infrastructure as a whole.”

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Protesters Repeatedly Violate Agreement Between Police and Standing Rock Tribe

The rhetoric used by protesters on Facebook and other social media profiles shows the divides between not only the protesters and police, but also between the protest camp and the Standing Rock Tribe itself. In the past several weeks, Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault has taken steps to repair relationships with state officials. That goal is not shared by protesters at the camp, who continue to violate a de-escalation agreement between police and the tribe.

Altercations continued throughout the week on Backwater Bridge, just outside of the protest camp. The bridge has been closed since October, when police pushed protesters off of private land. In January, the tribe reached an agreement with area law enforcement. Both sides agreed to withdraw from the bridge and law enforcement agreed not to continually staff the barricade, hoping that the agreement would reduce the number of altercations between police and protesters, a necessary step to the reopening of the bridge. However, many at the protest camp have been uncooperative.

Wednesday marked the third consecutive night of provocative protest activity. Twenty-one people were arrested. From Monday through Tuesday night, an additional 14 people were arrested near the drill site and on the bridge, making the week one of the most contentious of the new year.

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Cramer Says Trump Administration Will Act Quickly to Resume, Complete DAPL

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Kevin Cramer said Friday he thinks the Trump administration will act swiftly to resume and complete construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

On a Fargo radio show Friday morning, Creamer said he expects the Environmental Impact Study, granted earlier this week under the Obama administration, will be rescinded, possibly as soon as Monday.

He said that the easement to drill under Lake Oahe would be ordered and issued next week, and that construction to finish the line would begin soon.

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Tribal Council Supports Asking Protesters to Leave Cannonball

FORT YATES — The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council unanimously voted to support the district of Cannon Ball in asking all Dakota Access Pipeline protesters to leave the area and canceling plans for a nearby winter camp.

“All the individuals at all the camps in and around Cannon Ball need to leave the district,” residents wrote in a 10-point resolution passed during an executive session of a district meeting Wednesday night. “The building of an alternative site for the camp(s) within the Cannon Ball District is not needed or wanted. If there is to be any kind of a ‘site’ for the commemoration of this historic event that took place with all the tribes, the people of Standing Rock need to vote on where, what and cost before any ‘shanty town is built.'”

The resolution, approved by the full council Friday, applies to all of the protest camps in the area: Oceti Sakowin, Rosebud and Sacred Stone.

The majority of those from the camps who spoke said they respected the council’s decision and shook hands with them.

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Democrats, Republicans United On Dakota Access

North Dakota Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp are not letting the latest attempt to derail the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline go unnoticed.

The Obama administration Wednesday threatened to further delay the critical infrastructure project by ordering the Department of the Army to publish a Notice of Intent to require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the Federal Register. A move that sidesteps the professionals at the Army Corps of Engineers who have already concluded that the project will result in no significant impacts. In fact, the career civil servants at the Army Corps actually recommended that the easement be approved, but were silenced in the face of politics.

Hoeven, a republican, criticized the move, saying it amounted to changing the rules in the middle of a pre-established process. “The company has complied with all federal and state requirements, and should now be allowed to complete the project,” he said in a statement. “Since the current administration will not issue the final easement, the Trump administration should approve it without delay.”

He added that adjustments to the permitting process could be considered going forward, but should not be applied retroactively to a project that has already received approval. “Pipelines like the Dakota Access Pipeline can be built safely and protect both the tribe and everyone living downstream,” he said. “A new EIS will impose months, and perhaps years, of additional difficulty on the people who live and work in the pipeline area.”

Across the aisle, Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp echoed Hoeven, saying that the administration’s “legally unprecedented” effort would only promote continued division and delay. “Removing decision-making from the U.S. Army Corps District Office and looking at an issue not properly before the Corps does not provide the certainty, or the security North Dakotans need or that the protesters are seeking,” she said.

“Whether you agree with this position or not, President-elect Trump has not minced words about his support for the project, or his intent to take quick action on the issue, and the outgoing Administration knows that this move only stand to further deepen the divides in our state.”

It should not go unnoticed that, even in a state of political polarization, democrats and republicans agree that construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline should be completed without further delay.