DOJ: News Release

McGrath Releases Statement on District Court Decision in Riverbed Rent Case

HELENA – Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath today released a statement on a District Court decision on the state’s case seeking riverbed rent from hydroelectric power-producing companies.

This is great news for the people of Montana.

If you use state land for grazing leases, or if you develop oil and gas on state land, or even if you build a bridge on state land, you have to pay a fee and you get an easement to do that. These hydroelectric companies have never done that.

Everybody else that uses state lands has to pay a fee. There is no reason that this business, which is extremely profitable, should be excluded from paying the fee that every other state-lands user has to pay.

This case is not about water, nor is it about water law. This result is not going to affect the water rights of anybody else — including irrigators — whatsoever. The purpose is to treat hydroelectric companies like everybody else.

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