Keystone XL Pipeline halt hurting Montana towns

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 6:37 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, paid a visit to eastern Montana on Wednesday to see just how big of an impact the halt on Keystone XL Pipeline construction has had on the region.

The shutdown of the pipeline won’t just impact the oil industry.

People in both Glendive and Baker, Montana say it will hurt every industry in their towns, from agriculture, healthcare, and schools to many small businesses.

Jay Quenzer owns a business with his wife named Spiffy’s, after a nickname they gave their daughter.

When the pandemic hurt their business, money continuing to flow in from those working on the Keystone XL Pipeline was a glimmer of hope, but that changed overnight.

“Of course they all just packed up and left and they left a huge void for us,” said owner of Spiffy’s Mobil 1 Lube Express and Wash Jay Quenzer.

Quenzer said they’ve had a 25% drop in business since construction stopped.

And he’s not alone. Many other concerned community members and local business owners gathered to tell similar stories.

Jodie O’Donnell opened an RV Park, mostly to help house the influx of workers.

“The day the order was signed, the pipeliners that we had in our RV park up and left that day,” said owner of the RV Park in Baker, MT Jodie O’Donnell.

A Fisher Sand and Gravel location outside of Glendive is struggling as well, set to lose close to $1.5 million.

“We’d be at full force right now if Keystone was still going. The pipe would be coming in, it was due to come in Dec. 11. As you can see none has come in and it’s not going to unless something changes,” said Fisher Sand and Gravel’s Operation Manager Mike Newton.

That’s where Daines comes in.

He has introduced a bill to allow construction to continue, is requesting meetings with President Joe Biden, and is attempting to get Democrats on board.

“We need help from the Democrats because they’ll have the ear of Joe Biden. This needs to be a bipartisan kind of push. And at the end of the day, the people that are hurt by this are hard working Montanans,” said Daines.

The entire Montana congressional delegation is on board to bring back the Keystone XL Pipeline.

As leaders in states where the Keystone XL Pipeline would’ve run through continue to advocate for it to reopen, many North Dakotans anxiously await a decision on the Dakota Access Pipeline.

A hearing on whether that pipeline will be able to stay open will take place on April 9.

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