BOZEMAN – Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock released the following statement amid news reports that the White House will push federal agencies to approve a first section of the Keystone XL Pipeline:
“While I’m pleased that development of the Keystone XL Pipeline is slated to start, it’s well past time for full permitting of this job-creating project. Washington should approve construction of the whole pipeline – including an on-ramp at Baker to bring Montana oil to market.
If long-term oversight is guaranteed, property rights are always respected and safeguards are put in place, this project will bring economic development to rural Montana and reduce our dependence on oil from dictators in the Middle East.”
Bullock has long been a supporter of permitting of the Keystone XL Pipeline and last year submitted testimony to the U.S. Secretary of State in support of permitting the pipeline. The text of his letter is below.
Contact: Kevin O’Brien, (406) 465-6969
September 27, 2011
The Honorable Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Clinton:
I want to express my strong appreciation to the State Department and your office for engaging in an open and transparent process as you consider the permitting process for the Keystone XL pipeline – including today’s hearing at Dawson Community College in Glendive, Montana.
With tight regulation and appropriate, long-term oversight, the Keystone XL Pipeline project has the ability to create thousands of jobs in Montana, advance domestic energy security, and be a shot in the arm to our economy. If tight controls are put in place and long-term oversight of this project is ensured, I would encourage you to grant the Presidential Permit.
At the strong urging of the State of Montana, TransCanada has agreed to create an on-ramp in Baker, Montana, to allow domestic oil from the Bakken formation to be transported on the pipeline. This on-ramp will provide a further economic boost to rural communities adjacent to the pipeline in Eastern Montana.
Responsible development of a project like this must take into account the safety and security of the pipeline, the workers who will construct it, and the communities it will pass through. Before a permit is issued or a shovel is turned, you must ensure that Montana’s top industry, production agriculture, as well as our waters and Wildlife habitats, will never be adversely affected.
As you know, Montana has recently had several high-profile pipeline failures, including a breach of the Silvertip pipeline that spilled over 40 thousand gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River. I hope that your review of the project can learn from these devastating spills – including the need for a public response plan with input from local authorities, citizens and first responders.
When constructing this pipeline, it will also be necessary for TransCanada to Work in collaboration with Montana landowners and always respect the rights of private property holders.
Moreover, I believe that it is absolutely imperative that the industry’s best practices are used in constructing this pipeline. Uniform thickness of the steel- even in so-called “low consequence areas” will greatly reduce the risk of a catastrophic spill. Before approving any plan, federal regulators should ensure a detailed and rigorous construction inspection process is outlined and will be followed.
Responsible development of An1erica’s oil resources will play an important role in our energy portfolio for the foreseeable future. I believe that, if done correctly, with long-term oversight, the Keystone XL proj eet has the ability to create good-paying jobs in Montana, further American energy security, and add to the vitality of our rural communities.
Thank you for your consideration.