- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - U.S. government attorneys are asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit that sought to block the transfer of a western Montana hydroelectric dam to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Ownership of the former Kerr Dam, now called the Salish Kootenai Dam, passed over to the tribes earlier this month after tribal officials paid $18 million to NorthWestern Energy.

State Sen. Bob Keenan, former state Sen. Verdell Jackson and a Flathead Lake business had sought to block the transfer two days before it happened.

U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras rejected the request, and the government agencies being sued are now asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

They say any challenge of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the transfer must go before a federal appeals court.

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