Over 90 Montana legislators in both the House and the Senate signed a letter to President Joe Biden calling on him to reverse his decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Senator Mike Lang from SD 17 near the border with North Dakota, one of the areas hardest hit by the pipeline’s cancellation, spoke with KGVO News about the impacts of Biden’s decision, and that it flies in the face of real science.

“One of the things that always gets me is in Montana we have Montana Tech we have Montana State University, and down in Colorado, we have Colorado School of Mines, with some of the greatest petroleum engineers in the world,” began Lang. “Pipelines are classified as the safest way to transport liquids in the world, and Montana has 5,000 miles of pipeline underneath the ground presently.”

Lang spoke of the economic impacts to the state.

“This Keystone Pipeline was to support great jobs and the tax base in rural Montana,” he said. “You know, we've been a little depressed out here, but we're resilient people and we know the pipeline would be a good thing. I live in Phillips County, the largest gas producing county in the state. If you didn’t know the gas pipeline was there, you’d have to go look, and it would be the same with this pipeline.”

Lang said without the pipeline, oil would have to be shipped via train, however, there are many demands on the rail lines in eastern Montana.

“In the northern tier where I live, we have the Burlington Northern Railroad, and they’d be very happy to ship that through our state,” he said. “They can transport a lot of coal, wheat or oil, but the oil outbids the wheat as far as the track you choose, and so a lot of times we will see oil getting moved along that corridor. We will want that to happen but then in the same token call our grain can't move. And we already have the infrastructure there in the in the railroad, we'd like to use it for grain.”

Lang said Montana’s Congressional delegation supports the pipeline, including Jon Tester.

“He has endorsed a project, he did finally vote for it, and he has supported it in the past,” he said. “We've had support from previous governors. Governor Bullock, and Governor Gianforte support it. Senator Daines, Representative Rosendale and Tester are all supporting this project so it should go should be completed.”

The letter highlights how energy is the lifeblood of Montana’s economy and how the pipeline would especially benefit rural, Eastern Montana communities.

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