HELENA, Mont.- The future of the Keystone XL pipeline project remains unclear, and so does it’s impact in Montana. On his first day in office, President Biden stopped production, saying plans were not consistent with the administration’s economic and climate values.
The 1,700 mile project runs through a large part of the state and would ship nearly 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast. Both sides oppose the President’s permit suspension because of significant job loss in Montana.
Exact numbers weren’t easy to find because it’s winter and there aren’t many Montanans working on the Keystone project right now. Montana’s employment numbers aren’t major compared to estimated projections of nearly 60,000 total jobs lost, but hundreds of Treasure State jobs could be on the line.
According to Senator Steve Daines’ office, 60 Fallon County jobs would be saved if the President overturns his decision. If production does not continue, 700 more employees in Gallatin County would be jobless, set to be hired by Barnard Construction in Bozeman sometime this year. A Barnard representative did not wish to comment.
What’s unique here, both red and blue have come together to support the pipeline. Senator Jon Tester sharing the following statement with us, explaining why the project is beneficial.
“When I disagree with President Biden, I’ll say so—this pipeline creates good paying jobs in Montana. ’m a farmer who still relies on traditional fuel sources for my farm equipment, and the folks working in construction and extractive resource industries are essential to our state’s economy, particularly in the eastern part of our state. I will keep standing up for these Montana jobs, regardless of who is president,” said Jon Tester, (D), Montana.
Senator Daines’ office says in the long run, rural Montana communities could lose bigtime, including close to $80 million per year in revenue from the pipeline project and $40 million per year in response to the President’s ban on oil and gas leases on federal land. Adding that up, $120 million per year could be lost in Montana alone.
Senator Daines has introduced a bill to overturn the pipeline permit suspension. We’ll continue to follow this developing story.