President-elect Donald Trump holds stock in the company building the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline, and pipeline opponents warn that Trump's investments could affect any decision he makes on the $3.8 billion project as president. Trump's 2016 federal disclosure forms show he owns between $15,000 and $50,000 in stock in Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners. That's down from between $500,000 and $1 million a year earlier. Trump also owns between $100,000 and $250,000 in Phillips 66, which has a one-quarter share of Dakota Access. While Trump's stake in the pipeline company is modest compared with his other assets, ethics experts say it's a potential conflict that could be resolved by placing his investments in a blind trust, a step Trump has resisted.
The project has been held up while the Army Corps of Engineers consults with the Standing Rock Sioux, who believe the project could harm the tribe's drinking water and Native American cultural sites. The delay raises the likelihood that a final decision will be made by Trump, a pipeline supporter who has vowed to "unleash" unfettered production of oil and gas. Besides Trump, at least two possible candidates for energy secretary also could benefit from the pipeline, reports the AP. 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 (Read more Dakota Access Pipeline stories.)