BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Canadian company has built the first piece of the disputed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline across the U.S. border and started work on labor camps in Montana and South Dakota. But it has not resolved a courtroom setback that would make it hard to finish the $8 billion project.
The 1,200-mile (1,900-kilometer) pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska was stalled for much of the past decade before President Donald Trump was elected and began trying to push it through to completion.
Environmentalists and Native American tribes are bitterly opposed to the line because of worries over oil spills and that burning the fuel would make climate change worse.
Work finally started in April at the border crossing in remote northern Montana. That 1.2-mile section has now been completed except for some site reclamation activity, TC Energy spokeswoman Sara Rabern said.
The Calgary-based company has started site work for labor camps near Baker, Montana, and Philip, South Dakota, but it has not set a date to occupy them.
Montana officials have not yet received plans requested from the company to make sure it can prevent the camps from spreading the coronavirus, said Erin Loranger, a spokesperson for Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. The state expects to receive the plans before the camps are occupied, she said.