Montana Public Radio

TC Energy

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.

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.


This week, tribal members who protested the Keystone XL oil pipeline construction earlier this month submitted statements to a federal judge that they witnessed workers breaking social distancing protocol.

A federal judge in Montana Thursday heard arguments but made no ruling on tribes’ suit to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The hearing was part of an ongoing lawsuit the Fort Belknap Indian community in Montana and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota brought against developer TC Energy and President Donald Trump.

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

Construction on the long-stalled Keystone XL Pipeline started Monday, according to a Canadian company. Work on the U.S.-Canadian border kicked off despite calls from tribal leaders and environmentalists to delay the $8 billion project amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Like many other essential industries in Montana, the state’s energy sector continues the daily grind amid concerns over the COVID-19 illness. YPR News’s Kayla Desroches has been reporting on oil, gas and coal production and she shares her reporting with us now.

A Canadian company’s announcement this week that it plans to move forward with construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline in northern Montana has nearby Native American tribes and some locals concerned that the flow of workers could carry the novel coronavirus into a community with limited health care resources.

Editor's Note April 02, 2020: TC Energy spokesperson Sara Rabern is referring to workers being American when she says they are "local."

A Canadian company says it plans to start construction of the disputed Keystone XL oil pipeline running from Canada through the U.S. in April after lining up customers and funding.

TC Energy says it’ll kick off construction on the oil pipeline in Phillips County, Montana while also enforcing social distancing and screening to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Keystone Pipeline pumping station in Nebraska.
Flickr user shannonpatrick17 http://bit.ly/2H4u5Kk (CC-BY-2) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration on Wednesday approved a right-of-way allowing the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline to be built across U.S. land, federal officials told The Associated Press, pushing the controversial $8 billion project closer to construction though court challenges still loom.

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