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Briefly

Work starts on Keystone pipeline

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Canadian company said Monday that it’s started construction on the long-stalled Keystone XL oil sands pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border despite calls from tribal leaders and environmentalists to delay the $8 billion project amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesman for TC Energy said work began over the weekend at the border crossing in northern Montana, a remote area with sprawling cattle ranches and wheat fields. About 100 workers are involved initially, but that number is expected to swell into the thousands in coming months as work proceeds, according to the company.

The 1,200-mile pipeline was proposed in 2008 and would carry up to 830,000 barrels (35 million gallons) of crude daily for transfer to refineries and export terminals on the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s been tied up for years in legal battles and several court challenges are still pending, including one that’s due before a judge next week.

TC Energy’s surprise announcement last week that it intended to start construction came after the provincial government in Alberta invested $1.1 billion to jump start work. Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality on Friday issued the final state permits the company needed.

Dean Foods asset sale approved

NEW YORK (AP) — A bankruptcy court has approved the asset sale of one of the U.S.’s biggest dairy companies, Dean Foods.

Dean Foods Co. got the go-ahead to sell $433 million worth of properties and interests to the Dairy Farmers of America. Dean filed for bankruptcy protection in November of last year. Another major milk producer, Borden Dairy Co., filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year.

The dairy industry has been struggling for decades as consumers increasingly shun milk for juice, soda and an array of non-dairy milk substitutes made from soy, almonds or oats. Since 1975, the amount of liquid milk consumed per capita in the U.S. has tumbled more than 40%.

In addition to the sale of several production facilities and distribution branches, Dallas-based Dean has also lined up buyers for several of its brands, including Uncle Matt’s, Berkeley Farms and Meadow Gold Hawaii.

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