U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt today signed a Record of Decision that allows the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to offer a right-of-way grant to TC Energy for a term of 30 years, allowing for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline across 44 miles of federally managed lands in Montana.
“Today’s decision is an important milestone in constructing the Keystone XL pipeline and a great day for the common sense infrastructure improvement in our country,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “President Trump clearly recognizes the importance of having the infrastructure necessary to meet our energy needs and to fuel our economic progress.”
“Along with sustainable and responsible development of our energy resources, this pipeline will provide jobs and opportunity and ensure reliable and affordable energy supplies are safely transported to power our nation’s economy,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management Casey Hammond.
“This is good news, and moves us one step closer to getting this project done for Montana jobs and our energy security,” said Montana Senator Steve Daines.
“President Trump and his administration are delivering on their promise to get this critical infrastructure project moving after years of unnecessary delays,” Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte said. “The Keystone XL pipeline will create good-paying Montana jobs, boost our local economies, increase American energy security, and help keep energy prices down.”
The BLM’s decision comes after an exhaustive environmental review, tribal consultation and public input over the course of several years to mitigate the impacts of the project.
In addition to the BLM’s right-of-way grant, construction and operation of the pipeline requires permission from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to alter public works at Ft. Peck, Montana. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Western Area Power Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service must also make decisions related to providing rights-of-way, expanding substations and interconnecting with the electrical grid, and/or financing the construction and operation of the power lines.
The heavy crude pipeline consists of approximately 1,209 miles of new 36-inch-diameter pipeline – roughly 327 miles of pipeline in Canada and 882 miles in the United States from the Saskatchewan border through Montana and South Dakota to a terminal in Steele City, Nebraska – creating thousands of American jobs and providing considerable property tax revenue for rural counties for years to come.
The Record of Decision and associated documents can be found on the BLM’s ePlanning website at https://go.usa.gov/xpzA3.
Under the Mineral Leasing Act and Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, the BLM is responsible for reviewing and granting pipeline ROWs on public land it administers or when a proposed ROW crosses land managed by two or more federal agencies. The BLM has been a cooperating agency at the request of the State Department who remains the lead federal agency for the project.
In 2009, TC Energy’s original proposed project extended from the U.S.-Canada border crossing to the Texas Gulf Coast. In 2012, it was determined that the segment from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf Coast did not require a Presidential permit and construction of that portion was completed in 2013. As a result, the Keystone XL project authorized in today’s decision is part of the portion from the Saskatchewan-Montana border crossing to Steele City.
The State Department published a Notice of Intent on Dec. 3, 2018 to supplement the 2014 Keystone XL Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement in response to court-ordered updates and a Notice of Availability for the Draft SEIS in the Federal Register on Oct. 4, 2019, initiating a public comment period that closed on Nov. 18, 2019. The Final SEIS was published on Dec. 20, 2019.