Q & A: Trump’s 1st 100 Days and the Impact on Pipelines

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By Sarah Casey, associate, Baker Donelson

Sarah Casey is a member of Baker Donelson’s Litigation Department and concentrates her practice in the areas of Labor and Employment, Oil and Gas, and general business litigation. Her experience in oil and gas includes surface damage, mineral lease, royalty, and contract disputes.  In 2014, she successfully defended a natural gas pipeline company in a lawsuit alleging millions of dollars in contamination to property in Louisiana.

P&GJ: What does Trump’s election mean for America’s energy industry in both the short-term and long-term?

Casey: President-elect Donald Trump has made some big promises regarding the energy industry.  He has included the Keystone pipeline in his plan for his first 100 days in office, planning to grant the necessary State Department permit, previously denied by the Obama administration, to TransCanada Corp. to construct the northern stretch of the pipeline.  Also included in the 100-day plan is the lifting of restrictions on the production of shale oil and natural gas and the fast-tracking of energy infrastructure projects.  Trump has voiced his support for hydraulic fracturing and indicated that he will revoke policies that limit the technique.  Trump has also made clear his intention to open an increasing number of federal areas to drilling, both onshore and offshore.

P&GJ: What specific policies and regulations affecting America’s energy industry do you expect president-elect Trump to enact or repeal within his first 100 days in office?

Casey: If true to his word, Trump will attempt to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, which he has repeatedly criticized.  He will also repeal President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which sought to lower carbon emissions.  And, highly critical of regulations, we can expect Trump to reduce the many of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations.

P&GJ: You said you expect president-elect Trump to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline within his first 100 days in office, do you expect him to do the same for the Dakota Access Pipeline? Why or why not?

Casey: While difficult to predict, I do not think that approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline will come so quickly, if at all.  There are a multitude of additional issues surrounding this pipeline, including the highly publicized protests and the Department of the Army’s recent announcement that it will not allow drilling under a section of the Missouri River.  Trump has stated that he approves of the completion of the pipeline, and he could allow the project to proceed, despite the Army’s stance.

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