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America's 'Radical Elders' continue their work for fairness, justice; SCOTUS upholds law disarming domestic abusers; Workplace adoption benefits help families, communities; Report examines barriers to successful post-prison re-entry in NC.

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A congresswoman celebrates Biden protections for mixed status families, Louisiana's Ten Commandments law faces an inevitable legal challenge, and a senator moves to repeal the strict 19th century anti-obscenity and anti-abortion Comstock Act.

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Rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town, prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands and a Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival.

Keystone XL Pipeline Decisions Before the Land Board

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Monday, December 17, 2012   

HELENA, Mont. - The Montana Land Board is set to vote today on state land easements for the Keystone XL Pipeline. It's a vote that Jim Jensen, the Montana Environmental Information Center's executive director, says is premature because the environmental analysis for the project hasn't been finalized. And, there's more.

"Mind you, these easement agreements are not yet negotiated."

Those negotiations would involve pipeline company and local and state responsibilities in the event of spills, which Jensen says are vitally important because the pipeline will cross over three major rivers on state land: The Milk, Missouri and Yellowstone.

Governor Brian Schweitzer is promoting approval of the easements to speed the process along when, and if, the pipeline receives a final presidential OK. Schweitzer has actively supported the project, citing job creation.

Jensen says signing easement agreements without all the information, and before negotiations, is putting the cart before the horse.

"We think it is a fundamentally flawed process and we hope to bring to light the fact that they are doing these this way, and we hope to change that."

He adds that concerns about responsibilities, recovery and financial liabilities in case of a pipeline spill are still fresh in the minds of Montanans. Just over a year ago, 50,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the Yellowstone River because of a broken pipeline.



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