Nate Schweber at Al Jazeera America:
In the kitchen of a small white farmhouse down a corrugated dirt road, through a sea of grass, Irene Moffett pointed at chalky buttes on the blue horizon. For generations, her family has worked this land. Now, one mile from her property, a Canadian company hopes to lay the Keystone XL pipeline, which would siphon crude oil from Canada's tar-sand mines to a seaport on the Gulf of Mexico.
“Most jobs won't last after the pipeline's built, and what happens if there's a spill?” said Moffett, 77. “Why should we put up with the pollution, the disruption of agricultural lands? What's in it for Montana?”
Across this massive state, with scenery ranging from snowy mountains to virgin prairies, a diverse collection of Montanans, in love with their land, is opposing new transportation infrastructure for coal and oil.
Three proposed projects — the Keystone XL pipeline, a new coal railroad and a trucking route for mining equipment the size of apartment buildings — have triggered protests in different regions of the state, and not just from people who dislike fossil fuels.
Ranchers, Native Americans, farmers and environmentalists say they don't want the industrialization of the land that comes with moving the fuels and with the equipment needed for their extraction.