U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines today hailed the passage of bipartisan legislation that works to improve the future of Montana energy.
“I’m proud to see the passage of bipartisan legislation that protects Montana energy jobs, is critical to irrigate over 50,000 acres of cropland in the eastern part of our state and strengthens rural water systems that serve tens of thousands of Montana families,” Daines stated. “I’m working to provide certainty for our farmers, ranchers and communities by reducing bureaucratic red tape.”
Click here to watch Daines’ statement.
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The Senate today passed the FY 2017 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act 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.
Daines is a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. The Committee unanimously passed this legislation on April 14, 2016. Daines was instrumental in writing this legislation and included many important provisions for Montana energy and water projects.
Daines secured the following provisions in the FY 2017 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act:
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 Energy—Report 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.