ON 5 NOVEMBER 2002, residents of Montana in the US rejected Initiative 145, which would have required the state to buy 13 dams owned by private utilities.

Backers drafted I-145 in response to the controversial Montana electric utility deregulation law passed by the Montana Legislature and signed by Republican Governor Marc Racicot in 1997. The 13 dams were sold to the utilities after the deregulation.

Included among the dams were the 550MW Noxon Rapids hydro project in Northwest Montana, currently owned by the Washington-based utility Avista.