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Montana’s Energy Future at Risk: The Secret Pact Threatening Power Dynamics!


In a move that has stirred significant concern among stakeholders in Montana, a clandestine agreement orchestrated by the Biden White House with key entities in the Pacific Northwest threatens to drastically alter the state’s energy dynamics. This secret deal, which notably excludes Montana tribes, portends potential upheaval in electricity pricing for Montana residents.

Here is an open letter about that subject from Gary Wiens, CEO of the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association. Sources indicate that this agreement, shrouded in secrecy, involves negotiations between the federal government and authorities in Oregon and Washington, along with four non-Montana tribes.

The pact is slated for signing by December 15. Alarmingly, it was formulated without the participation of public power consumers in western Montana, especially the electric cooperatives that rely on hydroelectric dams for affordable, carbon-free electricity. The terms of the agreement, initially kept confidential, became public knowledge through federal lawmakers.

The deal’s cornerstone is the proposed breaching of the lower Snake River dams, a move that could replace the steady supply of hydroelectric power with more volatile and costlier renewable energy sources. This shift could jeopardize the power access of approximately 220,000 Montanans served by these cooperatives.

Moreover, the agreement proposes altering water flows, impacting not just power generation but also irrigation, municipal water supplies, recreational activities, and grain shipments in Montana. It also includes provisions for government support to non-Montana tribes for developing alternative power sources, contingent on Congressional approval for dam breaching.

The Montana Tribes and Ratpayers Can't Get out Of a Secret Agreement!

The potential ramifications are stark. Western Montana’s cooperatives could face soaring costs, increased rates, and constrained power availability, raising the specter of rolling blackouts in the region. This development has sparked significant opposition.

The 2023 Montana Legislature, through a bipartisan vote, opposed the breaching of the lower Snake River dams, a stance echoed by the Montana Indian Caucus. Additionally, a 2022 statewide poll reflected strong support among Montana voters for maintaining the hydroelectric dams, including those at Snake River.

This secret agreement, developed without transparent stakeholder engagement, represents a critical juncture for Montana’s energy future. It underscores the need for broader discussions and more inclusive decision-making processes that take into account the interests of all affected parties, particularly the local tribes and public power entities in Montana.

The call to action for Montanans is clear – to reach out to their political representatives to voice their concerns and seek intervention in what appears to be a hastily conceived agreement with far-reaching consequences for the state’s energy landscape.

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