Trump has a vested interest in seeing controversial Dakota Access pipeline completed

This isn’t the first time Trump’s business interests have been linked to the Dakota Access pipeline.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Tampa, Fl. CREDIT: AP/ Evan Vucci
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Tampa, Fl. CREDIT: AP/ Evan Vucci

Donald Trump has money invested in the company behind the Dakota Access pipeline, and he has received campaign contributions from the company’s top executive, according to recent campaign disclosure forms.

The Republican presidential nominee’s monthly filings to the Federal Election Commission show Trump has invested between $500,000 and a million dollars in Energy Transfer Partners, which owns Dakota Access, LLC. The company’s sole project, the Dakota Access pipeline, has been the subject of protests across the country.

The Guardian, which first reported the story Wednesday, said the Trump campaign has also received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company’s chief executive officer, Kelcy Warren. In the past four months, Warren has given some $103,000 to elect Trump. Three thousand dollars went directly to the campaign, and $100,000 went to the Trump Victory Fund, the joint effort between the candidate’s campaign and the Republican Party.

At 1,172 miles, the Dakota Access pipeline would be the largest oil line out of North Dakota’s Bakken oil field. It would move more than half a million barrels of crude oil daily through the Dakotas and Iowa, into a hub in Illinois.

The $3.8 billion line has been controversial from the start. In Iowa, many farmers opposed the project, which was awarded eminent domain rights to build if landowners declined to sell easements. But while farmers in Iowa were mostly unsuccessful in stopping the line, Native Americans, led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, have managed to slow down the project in court and with mass protests, while at the same time forcing the Obama administration to review federal permits the company received to build through the Missouri River in North Dakota

The tribe argues that the pipeline — set to run within half a mile of its reservation in North and South Dakota — would damage sacred Native American sites and threaten the Missouri River, the tribe’s sole water supply, for years to come.

In turn, the company maintains the pipeline is safe, while labor groups in various states promise it will bring thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenue, as well as energy independence.

This isn’t the first time Trump’s business interests have been linked to the Dakota Access pipeline. In September, Desmogblog reported that Harold Hamm, energy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, told investors his company would ship oil through the Dakota Access line.

Trump, who last Saturday released his plan for the first 100 days of his presidency, has said he intends to lift restrictions on the production of oil, natural gas, and “clean” coal. He’s also vowed to lift “roadblocks” to “vital” energy infrastructure projects, “like the Keystone pipeline.”

Meanwhile, protests in North Dakota have intensified, with at least one campsite expanding onto the project’s path. The colder weather has reportedly taken a toll on the number people participating, though.

On Tuesday, the Standing Rock North Dakota tribe urged U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate law enforcement tactics against activists as the tribe raised allegations of abuse, excessive militarization, and strong-arm tactics.