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With Key Protections in Place, Governor Announces Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Under MFSA

Press Release

Location: Helena, MT

Project Will Trigger $1 Billion of Construction in Montana

Governor Brian Schweitzer announced today that TransCanada, the owner of the Keystone XL pipeline, has fulfilled all its obligations under Montana's Major Facility Siting Act (MFSA), and that within the next several weeks, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality will issue the company its MFSA certificate (permit). The $7 billion project includes over $1 billion in construction in Montana, and will help create 1,200 high-paying construction jobs.

"In addition to the $100 million access on-ramp for Montana-produced oil that the company previously agreed to, I approved this permit with the requirement to post a $100 million bond to cover potential problems that might occur with the pipeline in Montana. The requirement for this bond is made possible by Montana's statutory MFSA authority," said Governor Schweitzer.

"We thank Governor Schweitzer for his support and leadership in granting our Montana's Major Facility Siting Act certificate. This certificate would allow TransCanada to proceed with construction of Keystone XL if federal approval is received," said Alex Pourbaix, president, Energy and Oil Pipelines, TransCanada. "Governor Schweitzer has long recognized the importance of Keystone XL -- specifically, the energy security and economic benefits the pipeline would provide to Montana and to the entire United States. He was one of the main drivers in ensuring American crude oil from the Bakken formation in Montana will be transported on Keystone to American refineries. This will be good news for Montana producers and will create jobs for the people of the State."

According to estimates, property taxes on the pipeline could bring as much as $60 million dollars annually to schools, counties, and the state.

The 36-inch pipeline would extend through the eastern Montana counties of Phillips, Valley, McCone, Dawson, Prairie and Fallon. The Keystone XL pipeline will be approximately 1,691 miles long, 281 miles of which are located within Montana.

Governor Schweitzer added, "The Keystone pipeline is a major project for this state and the nation, providing nearly 5% of American oil needs with "conflict-free' oil from our friendly neighbors to the north. This is an important step in freeing our nation from its dependence on oil from the petro-dictators of the world."

Now that Montana has done its part in ensuring this important project can move forward, it is essential that the state of Nebraska and its representatives in Washington DC get things moving. Montana, with one of the more rigorous pipeline approval processes in the nation, has acted more quickly than Nebraska or the federal government.

The Governor further noted, "The bonding we've secured as part of approval under MFSA will help ensure that Montanans will be protected from unforeseen problems. This is a very well designed and engineered pipeline, and we have worked with TransCanada to ensure that important protections are in place. This bonding is an extra layer of protection that puts responsibility squarely where it belongs."

The $100 million bond under MFSA is actually a third layer of protection for Montana. Not only is TransCanada required to maintain robust insurance to cover mishaps, but federal law allows regulators to seize assets of the company to pay for problems, if necessary.

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