US President Donald Trump has signed two executive actions to advance the building of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
Tuesday’s steps illustrate Trump’s plan to give the oil industry more freedom to expand infrastructure and ease transportation bottlenecks.
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Former President Barack Obama rejected Transcanada Corp’s Keystone XL oil pipeline in November 2015 after environmentalists campaigned against the project for more than seven years.
The pipeline will run from Canada to US refineries in the Gulf Coast. The US government needed to approve the pipeline because it crossed the border.
The $3.8bn Dakota Access Pipeline has also faced opposition.
Activists have spent months protesting against plans to route the pipeline beneath a lake near a North Dakota Indian reservation, saying the project poses a threat to water resources and sacred Native American sites.
Energy Transfer Partners, the company that wants to build the pipeline, disputed that and said it would be safe.
The pipeline is to carry North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.
An activist group against the two pipelines called on “all New Yorkers who care about the future of our planet” to march on Trump Tower in the city on Tuesday at 6pm local time (11:00GMT on Wednesday).
“If Trump wants to build pipelines, he’s going to have to go through ALL OF US,” the protest announcement on Facebook said.
Erich Pica, the president of Friends of the Earth, a network of environmental organisations, condemned Trump’s move in a statement sent to Al Jazeera on Tuesday.
“Donald Trump has made it clear that his America does not include the millions of Americans who fought to protect our land, water, sacred cultural sites and climate from dangerous pipelines,” the statement said.
It also accused the president of pledging “his allegiance to the oil companies and Wall Street banks that stand to profit from the destruction of public health and the environment.
“Friends of the Earth and our allies will not give up the fight to stop Trump’s agenda and these destructive pipelines,” the statement said.