News

Media Advisory: Billings rally to protect water and climate from KXL Pipeline scheduled before restrictive State Department meeting

Speakers gather from across the West to ensure the public is heard 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 25, 2019

BILLINGS, Mont. – The Northern Plains Resource Council and the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) have organized a rally and speaking event at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center on Tuesday, October 29 at 4 p.m. Mountain Time. The event will provide the press and other attendees an opportunity to hear directly from individuals and communities who would be impacted by the controversial Keystone XL (KXL) Pipeline, which threatens water quality, land rights, and climate health across the region.

The rally has been organized in response to a process restricting open comment (the meeting will not have a hearing) for the nation’s only public meeting regarding the U.S. Department of State’s recently released Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.

This Draft SEIS is crucial to the future of the Keystone XL pipeline, and will be relied upon for future permitting decisions from the Bureau of Land Management and the Army Corps of Engineers. In particular, the “Section 408” Army Corps permit required for the proposed Missouri River crossing of the pipeline would rely on a final version of this SEIS.

The proposed site where KXL would cross the Missouri River has been scrutinized because it sits underneath the spillway of the Fort Peck Dam subjecting it to immense volume and velocity of water discharge from the dam. This risks “scour erosion” of the riverbed which could lead to exposure of a buried pipeline, making it highly susceptible to leaks. This concern is heightened because the drinking water intake for the Fort Peck reservation and other northeastern Montana communities are immediately downstream from the proposed river crossing, serving as many as 30,000 Montanans.

The State Department’s meeting will not include a public hearing. Individuals seeking to provide comment will be directed to computers for submission or private rooms with State Department stenographers. The rally provides an opportunity for press and the community to hear directly from the public about this issue.

The Draft SEIS results from a November 2018 federal ruling that found a prior EIS was both inadequate and outdated. That ruling resulted from a lawsuit filed by Northern Plains and other conservation organizations.

Details for the rally are as follows:

WHAT: Rally to Protect Our Water and Climate from the Keystone XL Pipeline
WHEN: Tuesday, October 29 at 4 p.m. Mountain Time
WHERE: Billings Hotel and Convention Center (outdoors); 1223 Mullowney Ln, Billings, Montana 59101
WHO: Speakers for the event (subject to change):

  • Bill Whitehead, Chairman of the Assiniboine and Sioux Rural Water Supply System (ASRWSS) on the Fort Peck Reservation (Montana)

  • Lisa DeVille, Fort Berthold Protectors of Water & Earth Rights (POWER). Fort Berthold Reservation, ND

  • Senator Frank Smith, SD 16, Poplar, MT,  Fort Peck Reservation

  • Jane Kleeb, Founder, BOLD Nebraska

NOTE: Speakers will be available for press interviews after the rally. Advance interviews before the rally can also be arranged.