Trump’s Dakota Pipeline Conflicts of Interest are Exposed

Trump holds Equity Stake in Company Seeking to Build Dakota Pipeline

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for President-elect Trump to distance his conflicts of interest with environmental policy needs. While his investments in foreign real estate have been called into question when dealing with foreign nations, he’s also started getting new questions regarding the Dakota Pipeline.

The Dakota Pipeline is a $3.8 billion pipe extending nearly 1,200 miles. The pipeline is designed to deliver a high volume of crude oil from their extraction point in North Dakota to Illinois where refinery will take place.

The pipeline has been plagued for months by native populations expressing concern that the project will put their drinking water at risk as well as disturb culturally significant sites to the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Tribe.

Trump’s Conflict of Interest

President-elect Trump holds an equity stake in the company that holds the multi-billion dollar project. His reticence to place his family business into a blind trust has left open the overwhelming probability that he will be doing double duty running the family business while in the White House. Maintaining equity stakes in projects such as this makes it highly improbably that personal interests would remain separated from his energy or environmental policies.

“Trump’s investments in the pipeline business threaten to undercut faith in this process — which was already frayed — by interjecting his own financial well-being into a much bigger decision.” – Sharon Buccino, Director of the land and wildlife program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

It’s true that this investment is insignificant relative to his real estate holdings (less than $500,000 is believed to be held in the businesses driving the project). That’s not really the concern here though. This project represents a litmus test for his ability to remain unbiased as he governs.

The Federal Government announced that the thousands of protestors occupying the land are to be evicted by December 5th or face criminal prosecution if they do not leave. The protesting has been going on for months; however, this announcement came within 48-hours of Trump’s conflict of interest being announced.