U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines yesterday discussed the importance of land managers working together with power providers protect Montana’s electric grid reliability and reduce the severity and intensity of wildfires.
Mark Hayden from the Missoula Electric Cooperative testified during the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Reources hearing. In his testimony, Hayden stresses the necessity for the Forest Service to be more responsive in cooperation with utilities to ensure timely treatment of vegetation management to avoid reliability risks and wildfires. Mark also stresses the risk of liability, penalties utilities face when wildfires occur or reliability standards are not met.
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“I’m very happy to have Mark Hayden here today from Missoula he brings firsthand expertise to this issue and will speak on the importance of H.R. 1873 today,” Daines stated. “Our electric co-ops bring power to fourty percent of our state. Mark’s cooperative alone brings power to nearly 15,000 members in Western Montana and Idaho. Mark is here to speak to the importance of H.R. 1873, the Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act, to bring much-needed clarity on vegetation treatment in rights-of-way. This bill passed through the House of Representatives on June 21st of this year with 300 votes, including 69 House Democrats. I look forward to exploring this solution later on today and to hearing Mark’s and the other witnesses’ testimony.”