Montana AG Fox seeks to intervene in lawsuit in support of Keystone XL pipeline

The proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline in northeastern Montana. Sources: USGS, U.S. Census Bureau, Montana DEQ (Eric Dietrich/Montana Free Press)

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox petitioned U.S. District Court in Great Falls Monday to intervene in a lawsuit that seeks to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.

Fox wants to enter the lawsuit in support of the pipeline.

In a written statement, Fox – who is running for the Republican nomination for governor – said the pipeline “will bring jobs and economic development to Montana.”

“The obstructionist litigation against it has dragged on for far too long,” he said. “It’s time to settle the matter and begin construction.”

If eventually constructed, the pipeline would begin in Alberta, Canada, and connect to an existing pipeline in Nebraska. It Montana, it would run through Phillips, Valley, McCone, Dawson, Prairie and Fallon counties and would include an “on ramp” allowing transport of Montana oil to refineries.

In July, conservation groups sued the Army Corps of Engineers for its “rubber-stamp approval” of a permit for the pipeline.

Filed by Northern Plains Resource Council, Bold Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth says wildlife, the lawsuit contends that streams and wetlands would be harmed by the Keystone XL.

The lawsuit contends “that no federal agency has yet completed the requisite analysis” of the 1,200-mile pipeline and infrastructure.

Keystone XL would cross 212 water bodies and 32 wetlands in Nebraska, 182 water bodies and 41 wetlands in South Dakota, and 194 water bodies and 27 wetlands in Montana, the lawsuit says.

Monday’s action by the Montana attorney general drew praise from industry groups and conservative politicians.

“The Montana Petroleum Association’s members applaud Attorney General Tim Fox’s intervention in the litigation filed by Northern Plains Resource Council and other environmental groups to yet again delay construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline,” said Alan Olson, that association’s executive director. “This lawsuit will not only affect Keystone, but potentially any infrastructure project that crosses water, enabling endless litigation by these extreme organizations on each individual permit.”

“The Keystone XL Pipeline will bring thousands of good-paying jobs to Montana and millions of dollars in tax revenue to our state and local governments,” said Phillips County Commissioner Richard Dunbar, who also serves as president of the Montana Association of Oil, Gas, and Coal Counties.

The case is Northern Plains Resource Council v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and TC Energy Corporation (Case No. CV 19-44-GF-BMM in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, Great Falls Division)

View or download Montana’s motion for intervention and brief in support.