The U.S. Senate today passed Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus' bill to protect Kalispell's natural gas supply.
Kalispell receives natural gas from an aging pipeline that runs through Glacier National Park. The National Park Service currently does not have the authority to issue a permit to Northwestern Energy to upgrade and maintain the 50 year old pipeline.
Tester and Baucus' bill allows the Park Service to issue a permit to perform maintenance on the pipeline, letting Kalispell safely receive needed energy while protecting some of Montana's most treasured lands.
"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.
Montana Power Company constructed the pipeline in 1962 and received its first special use permit in April of that year. The permit was renewed through 1990, but the Park Service later determined that it did not have the authority needed to grant permits.
The pipeline runs 118 miles and carries natural gas to 25,000 consumers in the Flathead.
The House of Representatives passed a similar version of the measure in December. The President is expected to sign the bill into law.