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Energy

Advocacy Groups Appeal Keystone XL Water Quality Certification

A map shows the planned route of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline across eastern Montana.
TC Energy
/
A map shows the planned route of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline across eastern Montana.

Environmental groups are calling for the state of Montana to reconsider a water quality certification that allows the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline to cross more than 200 protected water bodies in the eastern part of the state.

Billings based Northern Plains Resource Council and the Sierra Club filed a notice of appeal with the state Board of Environmental Review Monday.

The groups challenge the Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s decision last week to issue Canadian developer TC Energy a 401 Water Quality Certification with conditions.

Attorney Guy Alsentzer represents the organizations. He critiques the scope of DEQ’s environmental review and its failure to take all public comment into consideration.

"Not only do Montanans have a constitutional right to meaningfully participate in decision making, but more so, if decision makers are not taking a look at the facts and taking a look at contrary views, they’re not making an informed decision," says Alsentzer.

Former DEQ Director Shaun McGrath said last week the Army Corps of Engineers set an accelerated timeline despite multiple extension requests. He said DEQ did not have time to consider the more than 650 public comments.

Alsentzer says the certification is stayed pending review by the environmental board.