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Associated Press, Published December 17 2012

Land board approves Keystone lease

HELENA, Mont. — Montana is approving 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 on Monday sold a package of 50-year easements to TransCanada for $741,000.

Critics argued the board isn't doing enough to make sure the pipeline will be safe for the environment, pointing to last year's oil spill on the Yellowstone when a pipeline ruptured. Opponents also argued it shouldn't be built at all due to global warming concerns from oil production.

TransCanada told the board that it has agreed to bury the pipeline 40 feet under the major rivers.

The board also gave the backers of the Montana-Alberta Tie Line easements across state land in north-central Montana to complete its project early next year.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.