Daines Secures Provisions to Improve Montana’s Energy Future

U.S. SENATE —Senator Steve Daines today secured important provisions that improve the future of Montana energy.  

“Made-in-Montana energy means good-paying Montana jobs,” Daines stated. “Through provisions I’ve secured, Montana can lead the world in developing energy resources that will power not only our state, but the country and the world.”   

Daines successfully included many important provisions for Montana energy and water projects in the FY 2017 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill to fund the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) programs and critical infrastructure projects administered by the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation. The bill was marked up and approved by the Senate Committee on Appropriations this morning.  The energy and water appropriations bill is expected to be taken up on the Senate floor next week.   

Daines secured the following provisions:  

Gateway Pacific Terminal – Strongly encourages the Corps of Engineers to complete environmental review for export terminal projects as expeditiously as possible, in a transparent manner, and in a reasonable timeframe. In addition, the Committee directs the Corps of Engineers to thoroughly consult with the Secretary of the Interior, and all affected Tribal nations regarding the environmental and economic impacts as well as treaty rights of all Tribes affected by export terminal projects undergoing environmental review.

Clean Coal Technologies – $377 million for the Department of Energy to foster carbon capture and storage technologies for new and existing power plants. 

Bureau of Reclamation – $1.14 billion for the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation to help manage, develop, and protect the water resources of Western states. This includes $81.8 million for Bureau of Reclamation Rural Water Projects, more than doubling the President’s request, to help projects like Fort Peck/Dry Prairie Rural Water System and Rocky Boy/North Central Rural Water System complete construction sooner and deliver clean water to rural communities in Montana. 

Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Project (LYIP) – $18 million for construction and over $2.8 million for maintenance for the Missouri River Fish and Wildlife Recovery program, including projects like the Pallid Sturgeon recovery fish passage project on the LYIP. LYIP provides a critical source of water to close to 400 farms and irrigates 50,000 acres of cropland across eastern Montana and North Dakota that produce sugar beets, barley, alfalfa, beans and other crops.  

Indian EnergyReport language directing the Office of Indian Energy to better facilitate communication amongst different federal agencies regarding rules, regulations, and actions, like EPA’s Power Plan, affecting energy development on Indian lands. 

Energy Programs – $11.2 billion, the bill prioritizes and increases funding for energy programs that encourage U.S. economic competitiveness and that will advance “all-of-the-above” solution to U.S. energy independence. 

Renewable Energy –  $25 million for conventional hydropower and pumped storage activities, including $3.9 million for incentive payments for applying affordable hydropower to more than 80,000 dams and conduits that produce no power at all.

Watercraft Inspection Stations in Columbia River Basin –  $4 million for watercraft inspection stations and $1 million for monitoring to combat aquatic invasive species. Boat inspections stations, such as the one in Pablo, MT, are operated by the Corps of Engineers and are the principal line of defense against an infestation of zebra and quagga mussels in the Flathead Basin.

***Senator Daines recently crossed the state of Montana visiting 10 cities culminating in an Energy Summit in Billings where he discussed many of these issues.  Click here to learn more.