TC Energy is moving ahead with plans to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, and it’s getting ready to make a few Montana moves.
Terry Cunha, a spokesman for TC Energy, told the Herald on Tuesday that Keystone XL has reached several key milestones. That prompted the company to file a status report with the U.S. District Court of Montana last week. In it, TC Energy said it would move heavy equipment to storage yards in Montana and South Dakota in February, and would transport and install worker camp modules in both states in April.
The crew camps are all on private property and have already been permitted by the respective states, TC Energy added.
Segments of the pipeline in Montana and South Dakota would be built in August.
The company will also build access roads to pipeline and pump station sites in Montana, South Dakota, and, potentially, Nebraska in April, while segments of the pipeline in Montana and South Dakota would be built in August.
It will build the 1.2 mile segment of Keystone that crosses the U.S. Canada border in April — contingent on receiving all necessary permits and authorizations.
Meanwhile, litigation brought by environmental groups and tribal groups continues.
In his latest ruling, Judge Brian Morris in the U.S. District Court of Montana ruled that some of the Rosebud Sioux and Fort Belnap Indian Community’s claims are plausible and that the litigation should continue.
He has also denied TC Energy’s motion to dismiss an environmental suit over the pipeline project, though the judge also declined to place an injunction on construction.
TC Energy has been trying now to build the beleaguered Keystone XL pipeline for more than a decade.
Originally slated to cost $5 billion, the $8 to $10 billion project would carry up to 830,000 barrels of bottlenecked oil from Alberta, Canada to the Midwest. From there it could access refineries and markets on the Gulf Coast.
The pipeline could also, depending on demand, include an on ramp in Baker, Montana for up to 100,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude oil.
Company officials have so far refused to say whether there are sufficient contracts to build the on ramp, but did confirm it as still part of design specs in 2017, when President Donald Trump first issued the pipeline a permit.
That permit was suspended after an environmental group filed suit, contending environmental studies and other assessments had been insufficient. Morris agreed with the groups and said the government had failed to adequately explain the change in rationale and its benefit to America.
Trump issued a brand new permit in 2019. That mooted the case, but attracted new suits, both from both environmental groups and from two tribal groups, the Rosebud Sioux and the Fort Belknap Indian Community.