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Donald Trump's surprise election win has encouraged Energy Transfer Partners's Kelcy Warren, the CEO of the parent company of Dakota Access LLC, which is building the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). In an interview with CBS This Morning, Warren said he is "100 percent" confident that the president-elect will help the company finish the project.
The Standing Rock Sioux and their allies have been trying to block the controversial project since spring. The planned route cuts through the Missouri River, and protestors fear that a potential spill will contaminate the tribe's main source of drinking water and destroy sacred sites.
More than 80 percent of the pipeline has already been constructed. The final phase is an easement to build a tunnel beneath the federally protected river, but it first needs approval from the Obama administration.
"We will get this easement and we will complete our project," Warren insisted in his CBS interview.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is mulling alternative routes and has requested a temporary halt to the $3.8 billion project but Dakota Access LLC is pushing ahead with construction. According to a Nov. 8 release, the company said it is "currently mobilizing horizontal drilling equipment to the drill box site" and will commence drilling activities upon completion of mobilization in about two weeks.
Yesterday, Army Corps's Omaha office said it was "concerned" that the company plans to continue building despite the Corps's request.
Trump has not spoken about the DAPL but holds stocks that are directly funding the Dakota Access Pipeline. According to Trump's financial disclosure forms, The Guardian reported that he has invested between $500,000 and $1 million in Energy Transfer Partners.
Warren said he has "never met" Trump but has donated $103,000 to his presidential campaign. He believes the DAPL will result in cheaper oil and more jobs.
Warren, however, brushed off any leak concerns: “I'm not gonna win that argument with you because pipelines do leak. It's rare. I think the chances of this pipeline leaking is extremely remote."
The Texas businessman went on to say that the protestors "will not stop our project, that's naive."
DAPL opponents have also responded to Trump's win. Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II told Yes! Magazine the day after the election he hopes that the new commander-in-chief will be sympathetic:
"We have to be hopeful and mindful that the new president understands what we're about. We're about protecting our future. And that's what he should be about. He should think, How can I protect my future so that 50 years from now, 100 years from now, there's something there? And that if we continue to do what we're doing at the pace that we're doing it, in 50 years we're going to see mass destruction because Mother Earth cannot sustain herself with all the activity that's taking place.
"So if there's an understanding of that, we can build relationships, and we can work together on how to make this place better and to salvage what is left."