Tester continues work to help oil-impacted areas

Sidney Herald

by Bill Vander Weele

During a news conference Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said the goal remains to try to assist oil-impacted communities if possible with federal bills and programs.

After Tester took an oil tour in Richland County March 16, U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., plans a roundtable discussion at the MSU Eastern Ag Research station in Sidney starting at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“We’re both aware of the oil impacts out there and are looking for an opportunity to help,” Tester said. “With the enormous growth going on out there, the challenges that come with it aren’t sometimes positive.”

He noted communities are in need for additional funding in such areas as infrastructure, housing, police and technology.

This week, Tester introduced an amendment that will require all Keystone XL Pipeline oil to be refined and sold in the United States. “I think it’s oil that needs to stay here,” Tester said. “For specifically Montana, I think it makes common sense.”

The Keystone XL Pipeline will run through Montana and include an on-ramp in Baker to deliver up to 100,000 barrels of Bakken oil per day. This will help increase access to markets and reduce constraints currently faced by Montana producers. The Keystone XL Pipeline is projected to bring 735,000 barrels of oil a day to existing refineries on the Gulf Coast. Tester is confident the pipeline will be approved.

“This is one solution to high energy prices,” Tester said. He feels creating the pipeline is prudent if built safely and with respect to property owners’ rights.