BILLINGS, MT. (AP) – TC Energy, formerly TransCanada, has begun construction on the controversial and long-stalled Keystone XL pipeline, which will bring crude from the oil sands of Canada to refineries in the U-S over a route the crosses Nebraska and South Dakota.
A spokesman for the Canadian-based company says work began over the weekend at the pipeline’s border crossing in northern Montana. Only about 100 workers are currently involved initially, but that number is expected to swell into the thousands in coming months as work proceeds.
Opponents fear the influx of workers could spread the coronavirus in rural areas that are not equipped to handle an outbreak.
Environmentalists and leaders of multiple Native American tribes have long opposed Keystone XL, which was denied permits by the Obama Administration and granted them by the Trump Administration.
There are still legal challenges pending to the latest permits.