Salish, Kootenai Tribes Will Still Buy Kerr Dam

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA — The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes still plan to acquire Kerr Dam, even with the announcement last week that NorthWestern Energy has agreed to buy it and 10 other hydroelectric dams from PPL Montana.

The tribes expect to take over operations of the 194-megawatt dam on the Flathead River in September 2015.

The Missoulian reports the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is overseeing an arbitration process to determine the purchase price. The tribes estimate the dam is worth $16.1 million, while PPL Montana has estimated the value as high as $55 million.

The tribes created Energy Keepers LLC to acquire and run Kerr Dam. Energy Keepers CEO Brian Lipscomb says the NorthWestern Energy purchase may change who they’re negotiating with, but for now it’s still PPL Montana.

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