© 2014 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana
On Friday May 30th, 2014, Senator Verdell Jackson filed a motion to intervene in the Northwestern licensing proceeding for Kerr Dam. The letter to Secretary Bose of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) says, in part:
“On behalf of the numerous public interests represented in the signature line below, I respectfully request that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission grant my attached Motion to Intervene in the matter of the issuance of a FERC license to NorthWestern Corporation for the Kerr Project. My Senate District consists of 2/3 of Flathead Lake and extends down the east shore of the same into Lake County. As such I represent irrigators, business interests on and surrounding Flathead Lake; fishing, sports and recreational interests; and thousands of citizens who rely on Flathead Lake and the regulation of Kerr Dam to support businesses, families, and communities. I also am an irrigator with direct flow rights out of the Flathead River which I use to irrigate my hay. I and the interests represented in this letter will be directly impacted by decisions surrounding the operation, management, and ownership of Kerr Dam.”
Late last year, Northwestern Energy announced its planned purchase of 11 Montana dams, including Kerr Dam, expected to be transferred to the CSKT in September of 2015. This move raised more than a few eyebrows, as one has to wonder why Northwestern would “purchase Kerr dam” as part of this package, and then turn around and sell it to the CSKT in short order. We have since learned that Northwestern will be acting only as a “transfer agent”, in that transaction.
In April, Senator Jackson, along with several other parties, including Lake and Flathead Counties, submitted letters to FERC expressing concern that important interests in the FERC proceeding had not been notified, including the irrigation districts representing the Flathead Irrigation Project.
For those of you who are not familiar with the history of the irrigation project, Kerr dam is intricately linked to it. For example, Kerr Dam uses the irrigation project’s valuable water rights, tied to the upper 9 feet of Flathead Lake, for the generation of electricity.
FERC responded by reopening the public comment and intervention period 30 days. That comment period ends tomorrow.
We will see how FERC responds to this motion to intervene. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.