Posted: Jan 3, 2013 2:07 PM by Dennis Bragg - MTN News
WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Senate is giving its approval to a bill that ensures an aging pipeline will be able to continue operating as it passes through Glacier National Park.
The pipeline was first built by Montana Power in 1962 to provide natural gas from east of the Continental Divide to the Flathead Valley.
The line passes through a portion of the park and was initially constructed under a special use permit. However, in 1990 the Park Service decided it didn't have the authority to issue new permits for the gas line.
That threatened the operation of the 118-mile line and gas supplied to 25,000 customers in the Kalispell area.
But under the provision of the bill co-sponsored by Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester, the Park Service is given the authority to issue a permit to Northwestern Energy so it can provide regular maintenance on the pipeline.
"This bill cuts through red tape to keep Kalispell homes heated while protecting one of the most beautiful places on Earth," Tester said. "Responsible maintenance of the pipeline will prevent accidents and help keep Glacier National Park the ‘Crown of the Continent.'"
"This is a common sense bill to make sure Kalispell can continue getting the natural gas it needs the same way it has for the past 50 years. It's a no brainer," Baucus said.