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State Dept. Plans Single Public Meeting On Updated Keystone Pipeline Draft

A photo of the Keystone Pipeline taken by a Flickr user in 2008.
Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
A photo of the Keystone Pipeline taken by a Flickr user in 2008.

 First And Only Public Meeting For Updated Keystone Pipeline Draft In Billings

The U.S. State Department will host the only public meeting over its recently updated draft environmental statement for the Keystone XL pipeline Tuesday in BillingsThis is the public’s first and only chance to meet with government officials in an open house to talk about the updated draft environmental statement for the controversial pipeline. A federal judge said late last year that the original draft needed further review of potential environmental impacts.

Conservationists, led by the Northern Plains Resource Council, plan to host a rally outside of the meeting to protest what they say is an unfair comments process.

Democratic State Sen. Frank Smith says the Fort Peck Tribes haven’t been adequately consulted during the drafting process.

Olivia Reingold: Since the supplement to the draft has come out, how do you feel like the public comment period has gone?

Frank Smith: I don’t think they’ve ever had one. Not a legal one.

He says the State Department hasn’t adequately notified the Tribes of nearby public meetings, and that for this upcoming one, mailed him a letter and asked him to alert other tribal members.

In its draft, the federal agency says it published notices in local papers, sent notices in the mail and through email, gave hard copies to six Montana libraries and published an electronic version of the draft on the Department’s website.

According to the State Department, the Tuesday open house meeting will be at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit comments through electronic stations, handwritten forms and one-on-one with stenographers.

State Sen. Smith says none of those options really amount to a public comment.

The State Department did not respond to multiple requests for comment in time for broadcast.

Olivia Reingold is Yellowstone Public Radio’s Report for America corps member.

Copyright 2019 Yellowstone Public Radio

Olivia Reingold is the Tribal Issues Correspondent for Yellowstone Public Radio. She was previously a producer for Georgia Public Broadcasting and participated in the NPR program, “Next Generation Radio.” She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, where she reported on opioids and the 12-step recovery program, Narcotics Anonymous. She’s from Washington D.C. and is particularly interested in covering addiction. She likes to sew, just don’t ask her to follow a pattern.
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