Montana Public Radio

oil

The Biden Administration continues its review of the federal oil and gas lease program during a freeze on new lease sales that recently drew protest from Montana political leadership.

The administration held a forum Thursday to hear from stakeholders as part of its program review.

The Department of Interior’s live forum drew around 600 viewers at its busiest, according to a ticker in the forum Zoom window.

Newly appointed Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American person to hold the position, kicked off the event.

Montana’s attorney general is joining 20 other state attorneys general in suing to reverse Pres. Joe Biden’s decision to cancel a permit vital to building the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline.

Fourteen Republican attorneys general, including Montana’s, are protesting Pres. Joe Biden’s decision to cancel a border crossing permit vital to construction of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen in a letter to the president Tuesday urged Biden to reconsider the permit cancellation.

Biden Cancels Keystone XL Border Crossing Permit

Jan 21, 2021

President Joe Biden followed through on a campaign promise on his first day in office and cancelled a permit required to build the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline.

One of Biden’s first executive orders included revoking the presidential permit Donald Trump granted Canadian developer TC Energy in 2019 to cross the international border into Montana.

County commissioners looking forward to incoming tax dollars expressed their disappointment at the decision, while environmental and tribal activists celebrated.

A U.S. district court judge on Oct. 16 rejected tribes’ request for a temporary hold on construction of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline in northern Montana.

The court will now determine whether President Donald Trump had authority to greenlight construction at the border between the United States and Canada.

Great Falls Judge Brian Morris said he won’t bar construction of a 1.2 mile section of pipe that crosses the U.S.-Canada border while he considers whether President Trump violated the U.S. constitution when he issued a 2019 permit.

Editor’s note: This story was updated Aug. 6, 2020 to include more detailed information about health and safety protocols TC Energy has required of its contracted workers, along with updated information from the Phillips County Health Department.

The developer of the Keystone XL oil pipeline confirmed Aug. 5 that two of its workers in northern Montana tested positive for the novel coronavirus last week.

Environmental groups filed the latest in a series of federal lawsuits against the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline, this time challenging a permit to cross federal lands.

In a lawsuit filed July 14 the groups argue that the U.S. Department of Interior failed to follow environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act when it greenlighted a right-of-way across more than 40 miles of federal land in Montana earlier this year.

Oil pump.
Dan Boyce

The president of an oil processing company whose Eastern Montana plant exploded in 2012 was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison.

The U.S. Supreme Court on July 6 upheld a stay on parts of construction for the 1,200-mile Keystone XL crude oil pipeline, which broke ground in northern Montana earlier this year.

The State of Montana last week finalized its first set of comprehensive rules for disposal of oil and gas production waste.

The regulations for Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material, or TENORM, went through several rounds of public comment and revision before it reached its final form June 26. 

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