Montana's Democratic governor slams ‘jackasses’ in DC for Keystone delay

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) is expressing frustration with the debate in Washington over the Keystone XL pipeline, which he strongly supports.

“Ninety per cent of these jackasses that are complaining about the Keystone pipeline in Washington, D.C., one year ago wouldn't have even known where the Keystone was. While we were doing the heavy lifting here in Montana and in South Dakota and in Kansas and Oklahoma ... in Washington, D.C. ... all these great defenders had never heard of Keystone before,” Schweitzer said in an interview published Thursday.


He also says that former White House hopeful Rick Perry (R), the Texas governor who slammed President Obama’s failure to approve the Alberta-to-Texas line on the stump, is a rather late entrant into the Keystone fray.

Those are some takeaways from a colorful interview about the stalled pipeline project that Schweitzer gave to The Canadian Press.

Elsewhere, Schweitzer says that Perry has great hair but only became an advocate for Keystone XL, which TransCanada has been seeking a permit for since 2008, in the last year.

From The Canadian Press piece:

Schweitzer said a lack of knowledge on Keystone isn't just at the Washington level. He related how a year ago Canada's ambassador to the U.S., Gary Doer, invited a few governors to his office to talk about the project, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.

"Neither one of those two governors had even heard of it before. He had to start from scratch. I'm going to tell you something about Rick Perry," Schweitzer said with a laugh.

"He's got good hair ... every hair is just right. He's got these big expensive cufflinks and his boots have got these silver tips, and, boy, he's pretty, but he had never even heard of Keystone before. After we explained it to him, he said, well, there's no reason why we shouldn't be for that."

Perry dropped out of the GOP presidential primary battle in January. He used an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal earlier this month to slam Obama’s rejection of Keystone.

The pipeline is at the heart of a political battle in Washington as Republicans bash the president daily for rejecting a permit for TransCanada’s pipeline last month, calling it a missed chance to boost energy security and create jobs.

Environmentalists and some Democrats — the caucus is split on Keystone — bitterly oppose the project over greenhouse gas emissions from extracting and burning oil sands, and other factors.

Obama said the permit rejection wasn’t on the merits but rather because Republicans insisted on an “arbitrary” deadline to make a decision in payroll tax cut legislation late last year. The administration has invited TransCanada Corp. to reapply, which the company intends to do.

Schweitzer, for his part, says the pipeline that would traverse Montana will bring jobs to the state. It’s also envisioned as a way to carry oil from growing production in Montana and North Dakota to market.

He predicts in the story that the pipeline will ultimately be built.

— This post was updated at 11:55 a.m. to clarify Schweitzer's remarks about the Keystone debate.