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A service for energy industry professionals · Sunday, May 22, 2022 · 573,493,762 Articles · 3+ Million Readers

State Grants Access to Yellowstone River for Power Plant Pipeline

There are several pipelines crossing beneath the Yellowstone River south of Laurel. In 2011, an Exxon pipeline assumed to be safely buried beneath the river burst after being exposed by high-water river scouring. NorthWestern indicates its pipeline will be 50 feet beneath the riverbed.

The governor said the details of the project weren’t relevant to the pipeline and easement, which was all the Land Board was doing. The board had originally approved the easement months ago when NorthWestern planned to bore beneath Laurel’s Riverside Park crossing the river about 1,000 feet upstream from the new site.

“The only comments that are germane to this discussion today though, are related to the easement in addition to the testimony that was heard today, both for and against,” Gianforte said Tuesday. “I want the record to show we also have a letter of support from the Billings Chamber of Commerce, Local 82, the local legislator who represents the citizens there, Sue Vinton, and the Montana Petroleum Association, Local 459 plumbers and pipefitters, as well as others.”

The Laurel City Council voiced concerns after hearing from neighbors opposed to the locating the pipeline beneath the park, which is why the pipeline route changed. After the pipeline was relocated, neighbors along the new route weren’t notified by county officials as required, which prompted a district judge to order the permit revoked and construction suspended.

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