NorthWestern CEO on Defense After Bozeman Blast

By Beacon Staff

BOZEMAN – NorthWestern Energy’s CEO is defending the company amid growing frustration in the aftermath of a deadly natural-gas explosion in downtown Bozeman.

Bob Rowe said at a news conference Monday he understands the frustration over how long it has taken to clean up debris from the March 5 blast that destroyed several buildings and killed 36-year-old Tara Reistad Bowman. But Rowe says NorthWestern has no direct control over the process and he notes that it often takes months to figure out the legalities around such sites.

His remarks follow growing criticism that includes a sign posted near the blast site that reads: “Thanks for nothing NorthWestern Energy.”

Meanwhile, Rowe says external forces caused a pipe to bow. A separation on a 2-inch NorthWestern service line between the main gas line and the meter for the Montana Trails Gallery caused the explosion. A lab is studying what those forces might have been.

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