Major investments for Montana’s water infrastructure, public lands pass final hurdle

Tester, Baucus secure funding for public access, clean water, Tester’s Wolf Kill Bill

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – A significant investment for Montana’s water infrastructure and public lands has cleared a final vote and is on its way to the President to be signed into law, Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus announced today.

Tester—a member of the influential Senate Appropriations Committee—secured the funding for Montana in the Interior Appropriations Act.

“This bill makes smart investments in Montana’s outdoor heritage and in clean water for our communities,” said Tester, who serves on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.  “It’s the kind of investment that will create jobs and keep Montana a special place to live and work, and I was proud to vote for it every step of the way.”

“This is great news for Montana that will provide critically needed upgrades to land and water systems across the state,” said Baucus, who worked closely with Tester in securing Montana’s funding.  “It will go a long way toward helping protect our outdoor heritage while creating good-paying jobs.”

Tester included $1 million in the bill to fund his bipartisan Wolf Kill Bill for the coming year.  The Wolf Kill Bill repays ranchers who lose animals to wolves and improves methods for keeping wolves away from livestock.  Tester and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) wrote the legislation creating the Wolf Kill measure earlier this year.

The bill also includes a 25 percent cap on fee increases for cabins on land managed by the Forest Service.

The Senate passed the Interior Appropriations Act with a vote of 72-28.  It now goes to the White House where President Obama is expected to sign it into law.

Below is a list of Montana projects secured by Tester and Baucus in the Interior Appropriations Act:

Montana projects secured by Tester and Baucus
Interior Appropriations Act

Glacier National Park: $8,507,000 to renovate the historic Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park.  This ambitious project will create jobs in Montana by remodeling and upgrading the hotel, which was constructed in 1916.
Blackfoot River: $8.4 million to protect hunting and fishing areas along Montana’s famous Blackfoot River Valley:

  • $4.5 million for the Bureau of Land Management to purchase more than 4,400 acres in the Blackfoot River Special Recreation Management Area in the Garnet Mountains, which will improve access to land for all Montanans.
  • $2.9 million to purchase conservation easements on nearly 10,000 acres of land along the Blackfoot River.  Easements guarantee that land will be not be developed in order to protect Montana’s agricultural land, clean water and world-class fishing and hunting habitat.
  • $1 million to purchase wildlife habitat in the Nora Gulch area of Powell County.

Rocky Mountain Front: $3.75 million to purchase conservation easements from landowners who own land along the Rocky Mountain Front.
Gallatin National Forest: $2 million for the Gallatin National Forest to purchase abandoned mine sites near Cooke City and Yellowstone National Park.
Lewis and Clark National Forest: $1.5 million for the Forest to purchase 8,200 acres along Tenderfoot Creek in central Montana.  This purchase of critical wildlife habitat will also improve fishing access along the famous Smith River.
Water upgrades: $1.5 million to improve drinking water and wastewater systems in four communities.

  • City of Bozeman: $500,000 to help the city build a new wastewater treatment plant and improve water quality in the East Gallatin River.
  • City of Butte: $500,000 to help replace the Big Hole River diversion dam that supplies 70 percent of the community’s drinking water.
  • Crow Tribe: $300,000 to help the Crow Tribe replace its wastewater lagoon.
  • City of Missoula: $200,000 to help upgrade Missoula’s wastewater system.

Forest Service infrastructure: $2,168,000 for strengthening physical infrastructure across Montana.

  • City of Bozeman: $906,000 for upgrades to the Regional Aerial Fire Office.
  • City of Great Falls: $386,000 for safety improvements to the Lewis & Clark National Forest Interpretive Center
  • City of Missoula: 
    • $495,000 for upgrades to the Tenderfoot Creek Experimental Forest Administrative Site.
    • $381,000 for upgrades to the Regional Aerial Fire Office.

Carbon County: $1.5 million for the Bureau of Land Management to purchase wildlife habitat and increase public access to Meeteetse Spires, a unique geological formation in south-central Montana.

Southwest Montana: $1 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to purchase land near the Red Rock Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

The bill also includes:

  • $1 million to fund Tester’s Wolf Kill Bill.
  • A 25 percent cap on fee increases for cabins on land managed by the Forest Service.
  • $290,600 for the Em-Kayan County Water and Sewer District for infrastructure improvements.
  • $150,000 for restoration efforts in Bozeman.