Daines’ Bills to Expand Montana Hydropower Receive First Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Steve Daines bills to ensure the completion of two hydroelectric facilities in Montana received their first Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing today.

Daines’ bills 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 an important aspect of an all-of-the-above energy mix,” Daines stated. “These two pieces of legislation will allow construction of two important Montana hydro projects.

Daines is a proponent of an all-of-the-above energy plan that encompasses coal, oil and natural gas, hydro, wind, and biomass. He recently toured the Rainbow Dam in Great Falls to see firsthand the operations of a hydropower facility.

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”

Last month, Senator Tester joined Daines in introducing both bills. Representative Zinke has introduced companion legislation in the House.

The full text of Daines’ bills are available here and here.