Dozens of protesters occupied the office of Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer on Tuesday, demanding that he oppose the federal government’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline that would bring tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas.
The protesters argued that Gov. Brian Schweitzer should oppose the planned Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S. after the Exxon Mobil pipeline spill in the Yellowstone River.
That spill has polluted the shoreline and backwaters along dozens of miles of the scenic river and led to friction between the governor and Exxon Mobil amid claims the company has not been forthright about the nature of the spill.
The group of about 70 people descended on the Capitol around midday. Protesters scaled flag poles to string up a banner reading “pipelines spill, Exxon kills. Big oil out of Montana,” while others occupied the central area of the governor’s office and played drums and chanted.
Schweitzer met with the protesters and told them that he would not oppose the pipeline. Five people were arrested after refusing to leave.