Public Service Commission Asks Feds to Probe Dam Transfer

Public hearings will be held to determined if the public interest standard was met when it licensed the tribes to manage the dam

By Justin Franz
Kerr Dam near Polson on Aug. 12, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

MISSOULA — The Montana Public Service Commission has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to hold hearings to determine if the ownership transfer of a Flathead River dam to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes last month was properly vetted.

The tribes paid nearly $18.3 million to NorthWestern Energy to acquire the dam, which was transferred Sept. 5 and renamed Salish Kootenai Dam.

The Missoulian reports that the PSC announced Thursday that it had submitted a renewed request to the FERC for public hearings to determine if the public interest standard was met when it licensed the tribes to manage the dam.

The commission says the transfer was hasty and politically motivated.

Tribes spokesman Rob McDonald says they have received the filing and are in the process of reviewing it.

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