Montana Delegation Introduces Legislation to Ensure Completion of Montana Hydro Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Montana Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester, along with Representative Ryan Zinke, are introducing legislation in the Senate and House to ensure the completion of two hydroelectric facilities in Montana.

The delegation’s bills will provide for the reinstatement and three-year extension of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license for Clark Canyon Dam Hydro Project in Dillon, Montana and a six-year extension of the FERC license for the Gibson Dam Hydro Project near Augusta, Montana.

“Hydropower is a critical component of our state’s all-of-the-above energy portfolio that provides a reliable and affordable source of electricity for hardworking Montana families,” Daines stated. “The completion of these important hydroelectric projects will help diversify our energy supply, create good-paying Montana jobs and provide much needed tax revenue for Montana counties.”

“Montana is blessed with abundant access to traditional and renewable energy sources. Keeping the door open for these hydroelectric projects is responsible management and it’s a critical investment in Montana’s energy future,” Tester said. “Putting our resources to work will create jobs, produce affordable energy, and expand renewable energy infrastructure.”

“Montana can be a leader in the goal to achieve American energy independence, but in order to be successful, it is critical we do three things: Update our infrastructure; diversify our energy sources; and cut the red tape that slows down vital projects like the Clark Canyon and Gibson dams,” said Zinke. “Due to the layers of red tape in Washington, D.C., little progress has been made. Extending the federal licenses for these two dams will allow important upgrades to our infrastructure while helping tap into Montana’s extensive hydropower potential to provide more affordable energy to Montana families and small businesses.”

Beaverhead County Commissioners commended the delegation’s efforts to reinstate and extend the deadline for construction of the Clark Canyon Dam Hydroelectric Project.

“The Clark Canyon Dam Hydroelectric Project is a welcome addition to the County’s economic base as it is an example of the multi-use of our natural resources,” stated the Commissioners. “The Beaverhead County Commissioners support a bill to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of the Hydroelectric Project at Clark Canyon Dam.”

The full text of both Senate bills are available here and here.

More information on the economic benefits of the hydroelectric projects is available below:

Clark Canyon Dam:
• Create 30 to 40 jobs during construction and one to two full time jobs for the next 50+ years
• Reduce over 18,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year
• Power 1,200 homes annually
• Produce $611,000 in state and federal taxes over the first five years of operation
• Produce $37,000 in property tax contributions over the first five years

Gibson Dam:
• Create 15 to 25 jobs and up to $5 million in wages during construction
• Provide 50 to 100 years of stable tax revenues for Teton and Lewis and Clark Counties, averaging $500,000 annually per county
• Reduce more than 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year
• Strengthen the irrigation component of the Gibson Dam
• $1 million in local purchases over two years
• Sun River Electric Cooperative will receive over $200,000 per year in a “wheeling fee”