Tester, Daines work to ensure Keystone’s safety

Senators’ amendment would limit Powder River expansion

(U.S. Senate) – As the bill to approve construction of Keystone XL flows through the Senate, Montana Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines are working to ensure the safety of the pipeline and southeastern Montana communities.

The U.S. Air Force’s proposed expansion of the 28,000-acre Powder River Training Complex into southeastern Montana allows military aircraft from bases in North and South Dakota to fly at low altitude near the planned pipeline route.

Tester and Daines have heard from Montanans who are concerned that the military’s presence in the area will jeopardize general aviation safety, interfere with emergency services and impede economic activity. In further attempts to stop the expansion, Tester and Daines are introducing an amendment to the Keystone bill to prohibit the Air Force from occupying low-level airspace over a crucial onramp for Bakken oil in Baker, Montana.

“The Keystone pipeline is a win-win for Montana’s economy and our energy security, but we need to ensure oil workers and pipeline inspectors are allowed to do their jobs,” Tester said. “The Air Force needs to understand the importance of pipeline safety.”

“This project is an economic lifeline for many eastern Montana communities, but the Air Force’s proposed expansion could put Montana pilots at increased risk and create problems for emergency services that are critical to the pipeline’s success,” Daines said. “Montanans have waited long enough for this pipeline to be built – it’s important that these serious concerns are addressed.”

Tester and Daines last week sat down with U.S. Air Force officials to discuss Montanans’ concerns over the proposed Powder River expansion.