Billings Gazette: Montana delegation disappointed, outraged by Keystone Pipeline rejection

Montana officials are expressing disappointment and outrage over the Obama administration’s rejection of the Keystone Pipeline construction permit.

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said denying the permit was an “affront to the American people.”

“It has taken more than seven years for President Obama to come clean with the American people and admit his anti-energy and anti-American-jobs agenda,” Daines said in a statement Friday. “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 costs for Montana families and the will of the American people.”

U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., said rejecting the pipeline was just wrong.

“President Obama turned his back on Montana, turned his back on American workers, and turned his back on our closest neighbor and ally, Canada. And for what? President Obama is making phony claims about the impact of the Keystone that his own State Department says is not true,” Zinke said. “A 2014 environmental impact study by the State Department concluded the Keystone would not have a negative impact on the environment. That’s a fact. But this president would rather use the 40,000 jobs and American energy independence as a political football to score points with donors leading into a tough election year. It’s just wrong. The president is 100 percent wrong on Keystone, and every candidate who sides with him on this will pay the price on Election Day because the American people are fed up with it.” 

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., called the delayed Keystone project and its eventual rejection a missed opportunity for Montana. Tester asked President Obama to approve Keystone in 2010. 

“I’m disappointed with the president’s decision. After dragging his feet for years on the Keystone pipeline, the president missed an opportunity to strengthen America’s energy security. This decision prevents more good-paying Montana jobs and ensures that we continue to do business with hostile countries in the Middle East. ”

Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock said rejecting Keystone hurt Montana’s economy.

“President Obama’s decision to deny approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline is wrong and bad for Montana,” Bullock said. “The jobs, economic benefit and energy security the pipeline would afford Montana, especially Eastern Montana, are now lost due to the dysfunction that has come to define Washington, D.C.”