Daines’ bicameral, bipartisan bill to complete Montana hydroelectric project becomes law

U.S. President Donald Trump on July 27 signed into law a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) that ensures the Gibson Dam Hydro Project in his home state of Montana gets completed.

“This is a win for Montana,” said Sen. Daines. “This bill will create high paying Montanan jobs, boost our economy, and power Montana homes with clean, affordable and reliable energy.”

Sen. Daines last March introduced S. 490, a bill to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving the Gibson Dam in Augusta, Mont. U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) was the lead original cosponsor of the measure, while U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) in September 2017 introduced the identical H.R. 3872 in the U.S. House.

Specifically, S. 490 authorizes the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), upon request, to extend for up to six years the time period during which construction must commence on the Gibson Dam Hydroelectric Project located on the Sun River in Lewis, Clark, and Teton Counties, Mont., according to the congressional record summary.

Additionally, FERC may reinstate the construction license if it is expired, according to the summary.

“I appreciate President Trump signing our bipartisan bill so the Gibson Dam Hydro Project can be completed, bringing good-paying Montana jobs, a healthier environment, and reliable revenue to our counties,” Rep. Gianforte said.

Sen. Tester echoed the same benefits of S. 490, which he added “will spur Montana’s energy economy.”

In their July 27 statement, the lawmakers noted that Montana is the fifth-largest producer of hydropower in the United States. The project for the Gibson Dam, which is one of 23 hydroelectric dams in the state, stands to create 15 to 25 jobs and up to $5 million in wages during construction, according to their statement, and reduce more than 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, among other benefits they cited.