Montana reviews oil pipeline easement request

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 14, 2012 at 4:40 pm •  Published: December 14, 2012

Sexton said the state negotiated an up-front payment that will be deposited into an interest-earning fund that provides money for schools.

But Jim Jensen, executive of the Montana Environmental Information Center, is not impressed.

He said the Land Board should do more up-front to guarantee the state is protected from any spills. And he said details on the river crossings should have been available prior to Land Board discussion on the matter.

"If spills occur on or near those crossings, it will be a serious problem, and yet the land board seems poised to simply move forward as though they are helpless," Jensen said.

Jensen, who does not believe the pipeline should be built, said the state should also analyze the impact that development of the Canadian oil fields will have on climate change.

"In the past, the governor has said to pipeline critics that it doesn't matter what the state does, these tar sands are going to be developed anyway. To me, that is just like saying to someone that is drunk and about to get in a car: 'Here is another drink. Go ahead and take it. Someone else will sell it to you if I don't.'"

The pipeline would eventually carry crude oil to refineries in southern Texas.