A hearing on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline was held at the federal courthouse in Great Falls on Friday morning.
Prior to the hearing, several people who oppose the project turned out to protest in front of the courthouse and along the bridge near the courthouse. The protesters believe that the pipeline will cause environmental problems, mainly contaminated water along the pipeline’s proposed 1,200-mile route.
One protester, Regina Brave from South Dakota, said the decisions made here in Great Falls will have far-reaching impacts in her home state.
“If we lose here, then it’s going to go through the Fort Peck Reservation and that’s going to go through the Missouri River on the southwestern part...and then it’s going to angle towards the state of South Dakota,” Brave said.
Protesters headed into the courthouse for the hearing after spending an hour speaking their voices. Montana chapter director of the Sierra Club Summer Nelson said she hoped the protest would give a voice to people whose objections to the pipeline often go unheard.
“We really wanted to let people know that there are still thousands of people in Montana who are concerned about this and paying attention and just trying to hold the government accountable in this process and protect water, land, communities, and climate."
Oral arguments were heard in a lawsuit challenging federal approvals for the project, but no decisions were made during Friday's hearing.