KUMV: Montana senators speak on domestic energy, Keystone XL Pipeline

by Michael Anthony

As the Russians continue their invasion of Ukraine, some members of congress are looking to have the United State retaliate by banning the purchase of Russian Oil. For Montana’s senators, it’s also an opportunity to have the Biden Administration take another look at the president’s policies reducing domestic oil production, including stoppage of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Montana’s two senators, Jon Tester, D-MT and Steve Daines, R-MT don’t always agree on everything, but both say more needs to be done to improve the nation’s energy production.

“From a Montana-North Dakota perspective, we got to take this opportunity to do some positive things for energy production in the country,” said Tester.

Russian attacks in Ukraine have sent oil prices above $110, and average gas prices in Montana are about a dollar higher compared to a year ago. Daines says more domestic production will not only alleviate energy prices but can help allies overseas.

“We want Europe to be looking to us to supply their natural gas needs, not Russia, because a nation that can feed itself and fuel itself is a secure nation,” said Daines.

Both senators are asking the Biden Administration to take this time to adjust current policies, such as federal leasing and the cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which was done on the president’s first day in office.

“Revisit that, reopen that, and get that through. Canada is a great friend of ours and it would also help with this battle and energy security overall,” said Tester.

“It creates great jobs. It creates important tax revenues for some counties in eastern Montana that are struggling to make ends meet,” said Daines.

On Thursday, Tester and Daines joined Senators Joe Manchin, D-WV and Lisa Murkowski, R-AK to introduce bipartisan legislation aimed at banning all Russian energy purchases. Members of the House said they introduce similar legislation in their chamber.

Both Senators are currently waiting for the release of a report from the Energy Secretary on jobs lost due to the cancellation of the Keystone pipeline, which was due February 14.