Montana Leaders Condemn Keystone Delay

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — Montana officials are condemning a new delay in the decision whether to approve construction of an oil pipeline from Canada.

The U.S. State Department said Friday it is giving federal agencies more time to review the Keystone XL pipeline.

Part of the pipeline would run through Montana, and reaction was swift from Democrats and Republicans.

Democratic U.S. Sen John Walsh called on President Barack Obama to show leadership and end the uncertainty by making a decision.

Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, who is Walsh’s likely opponent in November’s Senate election, accused the Obama administration of basing its decision on politics.

Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock says the pipeline has been pending for five years and that Montana’s economy would grind to a halt if he made decisions that way.

“It’s unacceptable for the Obama Administration to continue to delay this project. Montanans want good-paying jobs, a safer way to transport natural resources and a path away from dependence on Middle East oil. Americans have waited long enough. It’s time for the President to show the leadership Montanans deserve and make a decision because continued uncertainty doesn’t help our nation.”

“President Obama has made it abundantly clear that he will do everything possible to block this job-creating project—once again choosing political expediency over the needs of the American people. The Keystone XL pipeline would create hundreds of good Montana jobs and grow Montana’s energy sector by providing needed infrastructure to support production on Montana’s Bakken oil field,” Daines stated today. Montanans have waited far too long for the President to act— that’s why I helped introduce and pass legislation to take approval out of President Obama’s hands, and allow for the Keystone XL pipeline to be approved. Unfortunately, the Senate has refused to take up this common sense bill for nearly a year—instead standing by the President’s refusal to put Americans back to work and approve this shovel-ready project. Enough is enough—no more delays, no more excuses. It’s time for the Senate and the President to get serious about creating American jobs and build the Keystone XL pipeline.”

“I am very disappointed in today’s decision by the Obama Administration to once again unnecessarily delay construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. This project will be a shot in the arm to our economy by creating much-needed jobs, and will advance our domestic energy security. This has been pending for over 5 years. If we made decisions on permits this way in Montana, our economy would grind to a halt. At a time when our national unemployment rate remains near 7%, Montanans demand decisive action from Washington, DC, not further delays.”

“I’ve long supported the Keystone XL Pipeline and continue to support building it with respect for private property rights and to the highest safety standards. It is time for the administration to approve building the Keystone pipeline, an important step in getting Montana oil to market and securing our nation’s energy independence.”