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Protesters say pipeline jobs not worth environmental costs

Katrin Frye

Anti-Keystone X-L Pipeline protests popped up across the state and the country on Monday in response to a recent State Department report. The report came out last week and stated that the Pipeline itself would pose no significant increase to greenhouse gas emissions.         At a protest in Whitefish Steve Thompson with Glacier Climate Action said they wanted to send a clear message against building the Keystone X-L Pipeline.

The Pipeline running through Montana and to Nebraska would be an extension of the existing pipeline which runs tar sands from Alberta to refineries in Texas.

“The worst polluters are coal, and tar sands. So, that’s why people are coming out and saying; no coal, no coal export to China, no tar sands development, the United States should not be facilitating that, yes to clean energy,” Thompson said.

Thompson said they want to shut down tar sands development by blocking building of the infrastructure it needs.

The report from the State Department said the project would create nearly 2-thousand-jobs in Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, and South Dakota over two years to build the pipeline. It would support 50-jobs annually once in operation. The report also estimates the pipeline would bring $3.4-billion into the U-S economy.

Montana’s entire Congressional delegation, on both sides of the aisle have supported the pipeline as a way to create jobs, increase energy security, and keep energy prices low for Montanans.

Thompson, however, said focus should be directed towards alternative energy.

“We think that Montana’s got a lot of potential to provide climate solutions, and that’s what a lot of the people are bringing signs, they’re saying ‘let’s do renewable energy, there’s a biomass one here, wind and solar, but let’s not export coal to China, let’s not be a throughway for massive development of the tar sands,” Thompson said.

Glacier Climate Action joined protests in other Montana cities including Bozeman, Helena and Missoula, and protests nationally organized through and other environmental and conservation organizations.

Other federal agencies and the public can weigh in on the State Department report during the public comment process, starting February 5th.

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