President Donald Trump on Tuesday took steps to advance construction of two oil pipeline projects that have been fiercely disputed and were delayed under his predecessor.
Trump signed executive memos that will make it easier for TransCanada to construct the Keystone XL pipeline and for Energy Transfer Partners to build the final uncompleted portion of the Dakota Access pipeline.
The president said both memos were subject to terms and conditions to be negotiated by the United States. He also signed three additional actions to expedite environmental reviews for "high priority infrastructure projects," streamline the permitting process for domestic manufacturing and to insist pipeline companies buy materials from U.S. companies.
Shares of Energy Transfer Partners and TransCanada both rose more than 3.5 percent on Tuesday.
Trump has vowed to cancel Obama's Climate Action Plan and has threatened to pull out of or defund the Paris Climate Agreement, a landmark international accord aimed at reducing mankind's impact on global warming.
The Keystone XL would bring oil from Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska, where it would connect to an existing pipeline to bring the crude to Illinois. Former President Barack Obama refused to approve the cross-border project, saying the environmental review was not adequate in light of its route through the Sandhills ecosystem in Nebraska.
Environmentalists oppose the project because it will encourage the development of Canada's oil sands, a type of oil resource that requires more energy to tap than conventional reserves. Backers of the project say it will reduce U.S. reliance on oil from the Middle East and allow the country to fulfill its energy needs from one of its closest allies.
Keystone XL pipeline route, source: TransCanada View Related Chart