GREAT FALLS — A hearing on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline was held at the federal courthouse in Great Falls on Friday morning. Prior to the hearing, several people who oppose the project turned out to protest in front of the courthouse and along the bridge near the courthouse.
The protesters believe that the pipeline will cause environmental problems, mainly contaminated water along the pipeline’s proposed 1,200-mile route. One protester, Regina Brave from South Dakota, said the decisions made here in Great Falls will have far-reaching impacts in her home state: “If we lose here, then it’s going to go through the Fort Peck Reservation and that’s going to go through the Missouri River on the southwestern part...and then it’s going to angle towards the state of South Dakota,” Brave said.
After spending an hour speaking their voices, protesters headed into the courthouse for the hearing.
Summer Nelson, Montana chapter director of the Sierra Club, said she hoped today's protest would give a voice to people whose objections to the pipeline often go unheard: “We really wanted to let people know that there are still thousands of people in Montana who are concerned about this and paying attention and just trying to hold the government accountable in this process and protect water, land, communities, and climate."
After spending an hour speaking their voices, protesters headed into the courthouse for the hearing, where oral arguments were heard in a lawsuit challenging federal approvals for the project.
No decisions were made during Friday's hearing.
(JULY 2, 2019) A coalition of environmental groups has filed another federal lawsuit to block the proposed Keystone XL pipeline arguing the federal government failed to properly evaluate the project’s impact on nearby waterways.
The Billings-based Northern Plains Resource Council joined the Sierra Club and four other environmental groups in the lawsuit filed against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before U.S. District Judge Brian Morris of Great Falls.
The environmental groups are seeking to block a federal permit granted in March that the Trump administration had argued was not subject to court review.
The plaintiffs argue the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline crosses hundreds of rivers, streams and wetlands in several states — which should trigger an evaluation of environmental impacts.
If all this sounds familiar, it’s because the arguments aren’t new. Morris sided with environmentalists in late 2018 that the administration had failed to properly evaluate the project, essentially killing that permit effort.
Morris only lifted his injunction against construction after the Trump administration pulled the old permit in favor of the new one. Morris said the injuction was “moot.”
Developer TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada Corp., is seeking to build the pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta, through Montana and South Dakota, before connecting to an existing line in Nebraska.
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- Judge bans all field pre-construction work for Keystone XL pipeline, allows limited planning
- TransCanada asks judge who blocked Keystone XL pipeline to allow pre-construction work
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