Tester, Baucus Push for Bill to Upgrade Kalispell Natural Gas Pipeline

By Beacon Staff

Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester are pushing legislation that would allow for maintenance on a pipeline that supplies Kalispell with natural gas.

According to a press release from Tester’s office, the aging pipeline runs through Glacier National Park. The National Park Service currently doesn’t have authority to issue a permit to NorthWestern Energy to upgrade and maintain the 50-year-old pipeline, the release states.

Tester and Baucus are pushing for a bill that would allow the National Park Service to issue a permit to perform maintenance on the pipeline, “which will let Kalispell safely receive needed energy while protecting some of Montana’s most treasured lands,” according to the release.

“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.’”

Montana Power Company constructed the pipeline in 1962 and received its first special-use permit that same year, Tester’s office said. The permit was renewed through 1990 but the National Park Service later determined it didn’t have authority to grant permits.

The pipeline runs 118 miles and carries natural gas to 25,000 consumers in the Flathead, the press release states.

“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,” Baucus said. “It’s a no brainer.”

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.