Justices to Look at River Navigability Next Term

     (CN) – The Supreme Court on Monday said it would take up a title case from Montana regarding river navigability, which stems from a dispute over the amount of money a electric generator owes the state that provides it with hydroelectric power.

     Appealing the decision of the Montana Supreme Court, PPL Montana asked the justices to answer whether a trial court should determine whether a disputed stretch of the river was navigable at the time the state joined the union for a constitutional test that determines whether the section is navigable for title purposes.
     A Montana trial court had ordered PPL, a wholesale electric generator, to pay the state nearly $41 million for its use of Montana-owned riverbeds from 2000 to 2007 at the company’s hydroelectric power sites on the Missouri, Madison and Clark Fork rivers.
     The state Supreme Court affirmed that decision on March 30, 2010, in a 107-page decision.
     In the order granting certification for the appeal before the high court, the justices also noted that a group of history professors who have a specialized focus on the American West could file an amicus brief for PPL.

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