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June 14, 2001
CONTACT: Shane M. Hedges
Governorís Office
(406) 444-5522

GREAT FALLS -- Governor Judy Martz today said, "I am so very pleased that NorthWestern Corporation has selected the Electric City of Great Falls to construct a 240-megawatt electricity generating facility."

Martz first announced the Montana First Megawatts initiative with Northwestern during the last legislative session and since that time has been working with the company to site and secure the necessary permits for a facility. Martz is particularly interested in moving the project along because it will create a pool of reasonably priced, reliable electricity for Montana industrial customers.

The proposed generation facility will be located about one mile north of Great Falls, adjacent to and east of Highway 87 (Harve Highway) in Cascade County. The facility will consist of three 80-megawatt combined cycle, natural gas-fired generating units, with the first unit projected to come on line in the fall of 2001.

"Northwestern is exactly the kind of good corporate citizen we want in Montana," said Martz. "I need every Montanan working with me to create an entrepreneurial climate that will allow investors to succeed here."

Mike Hanson, CEO of Northwestern, pointed out that the planned generation project is being called "Montana First Megawatts" because a significant amount of its potential power output will be provided at cost to Montana industrial businesses including several that have had to close their doors or eliminate jobs because of high-cost electricity.

"Having a new supply of reliable, reasonably priced power is absolutely essential for the future of Montana's industrial base which is directly tied to retaining and creating jobs for our citizens," Governor Judy Martz said, noting that electricity from the project will be dedicated to the state's power pool for distribution to qualified users. "We commend NorthWestern for its willingness to work with the state to address this critical need."

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