Montana on Monday approved easements to let the Keystone XL pipeline cross state-owned land, including the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers.
The Land Board chaired by Gov. Brian Schweitzer, running his last meeting before leaving office, sold the package of 50-year easements to TransCanada Corp. for $741,000. The board also finalized approval for land leases for the completion of the Montana-Alberta Tie Line.
But it was the lease for the oil pipeline that brought out some critics, who argued the board isn't doing enough to make sure the pipeline will be safe for the environment. They pointed to last year's oil spill on the Yellowstone, caused when a pipeline ruptured, of the danger posed when rivers are crossed. Opponents also argued it shouldn't be built at all due to global warming concerns from oil production.