Hebgen Lake businesses join outcry over NorthWestern Energy dam management

Brett French

Business owners have filed a protest with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission criticizing NorthWestern Energy’s management for water levels on Hebgen Lake this summer as irresponsible.

The businesses filing the complaint on Jan. 4 include the Firehole Ranch, Kirkwood Marina and Yellowstone Holiday Resort. Twenty-seven other letters from lake property owners and boaters were filed supporting the protest.

FERC is the federal agency that oversees dam licensing.

The news of the filings came as a trio of environmental groups filed a complaint on Wednesday asking FERC to hold NorthWestern accountable for its dam failure in late November that temporarily reduced flows on the Madison River.

The Upper Missouri Waterkeeper, Montana Environmental Information Center, and the Madison River Foundation are calling for FERC to require the energy company to “fund a thorough, third-party investigation of the malfunction and hold the permittee accountable to take the necessary steps in ensuring this tragedy is an isolated event.”

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Wind blows foam into long strings as storm clouds gather over Hebgen Lake in this file photo.

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