Montana signs bill to control aquatic invasive species, includes fee on hydro facilities

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has signed Senate Bill 363 to provide funding to prevent and control aquatic invasive species and start the aquatic invasive species prevention pass, with funding to be provided in part through a new fee on hydro facilities.

The bill actually imposes three fees:

  • To be eligible to fish in Montana or to apply for a fishing license, a person must first obtain an aquatic invasive species prevention pass.
  • Hydroelectric facilities must pay a quarterly invasive species fee of $795.76 per megawatt of nameplate capacity authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Facilities to pay the fee are those with a nameplate capacity of more than 1.5 MW.
  • A load-serving utility that receives more than 50% of its annual electricity supply from hydroelectric generation supplied by a federal power marketing administration and that does not own a hydro facility must pay a quarterly invasive species fee based on the utility’s 2015 kilowatt-hour sales.

The bill was sponsored by Republican Senator Chas Vincent. According to the Great Falls Tribune, this legislation will provide Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks with $6 million per year to increase the number of inspection and decontamination stations and to expand public education and outreach efforts. The newspaper states the governor’s office said, “Montana is a headwater state for three regionally significant river systems and the economic, environmental and recreational impacts of an invasive aquatic mussel infestation has national implications.”

A statewide national resource emergency was previously declared for Montana water bodies due to the detection of the larvae of invasive aquatic mussels at Tiber Reservoir and suspected detections at Canyon Ferry Reservoir and the Milk and Missouri rivers, Great Falls Tribune says.

To view the complete text of the bill, click here.

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