Earlier this week the U.S. Senate passed a bill that protects Kalispell's natural gas supply. The city receives its natural gas supply 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.
Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus' bill allows the Park Service to issue a permit to perform maintenance on the pipeline, allowing Kalispell to safely receive needed energy while protecting some of Montana's most treasured lands.
Specifically, the bill allows maintenance work on a 3.5-mile section of pipeline that parallels U.S. 2 on the southern boundary of Glacier National Park.
The 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 and the President is expected to sign the bill into law.
Hiking in Glacier National Park