President-elect Donald Trump holds between $15,000 and $50,000 worth of stock in the company building the pipeline in North Dakota that indigenous residents are protesting on the grounds that it endangers their drinking water, among other reasons.
One year ago he held between $500,000 and $1 million in the Texas-based company, Energy Transfer Partners. He also owns between $100,000 and $250,000 in Phillips 66, which has a one-quarter share of Dakota Access, in addition to holding stakes in more than 500 companies worldwide.
Trump is a pipeline supporter who has vowed to “unleash” production of oil and gas. He takes office in January and is expected to make the final decision on the pipeline.
While Trump’s stake in the pipeline company is modest compared with his other assets, ethics experts say it’s among dozens of potential conflicts that could be resolved by placing his investments in a blind trust, a step Trump has resisted.
“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,” said Sharon Buccino, director of the land and wildlife program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.
“This should be about the interests of the many, rather than giving the appearance of looking at the interests of a few — including Trump,” Buccino said. …
Besides Trump, at least two possible candidates for energy secretary also could benefit from the pipeline. Oil billionaire Harold Hamm could ship oil from his company, Continental Resources, through the pipeline, while former Texas Gov. Rick Perry serves on the board of directors of Energy Transfer Partners.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly