White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer responded to a question about the future of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipeline projects during a press briefing in Washington on Monday, Jan. 23.

Though he did not say exactly how President Donald Trump would handle the projects, his response outlined Trump's interest in using domestic natural resources as an economic driver.

"I'm not going to get in front of the president's executive actions, but I will tell you that areas like Dakota and the Keystone pipeline, areas that we can increase jobs, increase economic growth and tap into America's energy supply more-that's something that he's been very clear about," Spicer said in remarks broadcast on cable news.

The future of the Dakota Access Pipeline has been unclear since early December, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers declined to permit construction of the pipeline under Lake Oahe. The location near the Standing rock Sioux Reservation has been a major point of contention, with months of national attention focused on protests expressing concerns about the safety of the area water supply.

If completed, the pipeline would transfer 470,000 barrels of oil each day from oil fields in western North Dakota to across much of the Upper Midwest en route to Illinois. Proponents see the project as a significant economic engine in the petroleum industry.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

Keystone XL is a separate oil pipeline project that has seen a similar debate, stretching from Alberta and into the continental United States. President Barack Obama declined to back the project in 2015.

"I think that the energy sector and our natural resources are an area where I think the president is very, very keen on making sure that we maximize our use of natural resources to America's benefit," Spicer said. "It's good for economic growth, it's good for jobs, and it's good for American energy."