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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Montana Politicians United In Outrage Over Keystone Pipeline Decision

Pipes for Keystone XL Pipeline.
shannonpatrick17 (CC-BY-2.0)
Pipes for Keystone XL Pipeline

Montana politicians of both parties found something to unite over today: their outrage over the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama rejected the permit application for the pipeline citing the need for America to lead the fight against climate change.

Democratic Governor Steve Bullock called the decision “wrong and bad for Montana.”

Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke said Obama was turning his back on the American worker, and Republican Senator Steve Daines said the decision reveals what he called the president’s anti-jobs agenda.

"President Obama had an opportunity to help create good paying jobs with the construction of the Keystone pipeline but instead he chose to blatantly disregard the economic needs of this nation, the need for good paying jobs like union jobs, energy cost for the Montana families, and the will of the American people."

Democratic Senator Jon Tester also piled on, saying “the President missed an opportunity to strengthen America's energy security.”

There are some Montanans applauding the decision.

Refinery worker Keith Crookston is glad the President rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline. Crookston works at the Cenex refinery in Laurel, one of four refineries in the state. He says environmentalists' concerns about the project were overblown, but he’s worried about the American refinery jobs that might be lost.

"If that pipeline shuts down one refinery anywhere in this country because they’re exporting crude to be refined overseas and the finished product gets shipped back to us, that will eliminate more contractor jobs on a permanent basis than will ever be hired to build that pipeline on a temporary basis."

Crookston, who’s a member of the United Steelworkers union, also didn’t like that there was no guarantee American steel or labor would be used to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

According to the U.S. State Department, construction of the pipeline would have created or supported 20,000 jobs a year for two years, with about 3,700 of those jobs in eastern Montana. Once finished, though, pipeline operations would have needed only 35 permanent employees.

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