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Pals of the Cheat voices questions, issues to FERC on Lake Lynn dam relicensing, proposal to take away 300 acres from fed safety

MORGANTOWN – The proposal to take away 307.1 acres surrounding Cheat Lake from federal safety continues to generate public concern because the the Federal Power Regulatory Fee opinions Lake Lynn Technology’s utility to resume its Lake Lynn Hydroelectric Challenge license.

The general public remark deadline for the proposal ended Oct. 25, and Pals of the Cheat was amongst these submitting feedback, concluding its six pages of questions and solutions with a request for FERC to carry a second public listening to, given the a number of issues related to the primary one, held Sept. 25.

Whereas some feedback had been bluntly Lake Lynn Technology/Eagle Creek Renewable Power’s proposal, FOC was extra diplomatic in stating its issues: “FOC doesn’t totally perceive the justification for the removing of those lands from the Challenge Boundary.” So it’s difficult to grasp what’s being misplaced by the change and to supply feedback on solutions to stability any potential lack of operate.

FOC factors out to FERC that the affected lands are primarily forested, upland areas and riparian areas alongside the banks of Lake Lynn that buffer runoff, stabilize soils, and are integral to sustaining shoreline and water high quality circumstances.

“Eradicating them from the mission would open the land to potential residential or industrial growth which, in flip, would negatively affect water high quality and obtainable wildlife habitat and probably affect the protection and expertise of leisure customers,” FOC stated.

FOC acknowledged three causes for requesting a second public listening to: The Draft Research Plan was initiated throughout COVID, which impacted public consciousness. The 760-page doc submitted to FERC , which contained the boundary adjustment proposal, was made public on Sept. 11, permitting little time for evaluation by Sept. 25.

And, “within the absence of correct and full data, misinformation in regards to the mission unfold. One other public listening to, with a extra skilled FERC facilitator, would permit for a greater understanding of Eagle Creek’s proposed motion … and lay a basis for belief between the Licensee and the group via clear, clear data change.”

(Our report on the Sept. 25 assembly famous that the gang was typically contentious and the meeeting was continuously chaotic.)

FOC included a number of different requests for FERC: requiring a water high quality monitoring plan be included within the NEPA (Nationwide Environmental Coverage Act) course of, not after issuing the ultimate license; requiring Eagle Creek’s new recreation administration plan be a part of the NEPA course of; and requiring a draft shoreline administration plan be a part of the NEPA course of. FOC additionally wish to see a fish passage plan or prescription be included within the licensing course of.

Challenge background

Lake Lynn Technology is a subsidiary of Eagle Creek Renewable Power, which is a subsidiary of Ontario Energy Technology. Maryland-based Eagle Creek owns 85 hydro-power stations in 18 states and has been the proprietor; Lake Lynn Technology has been this mission’s licensee and proprietor since 2105. The present license was issued on Dec. 27, 1994, and expires Nov. 30, 2024.

LLG proposes no adjustments to operations or amenities. It does suggest to regulate the mission boundary to incorporate solely lands crucial for operation and upkeep of the ability station, stated Jody Smet, chief compliance officer and vp of regulatory affairs for LLG/Eag;e Creek on the September assembly. She stated, a number of occasions within the face of repeated skepticism, “We won’t promote the land.”

Different feedback

Thus far, the pubic hasn’t purchased these assurances, as mirrored within the public feedback posted on FERC’s e-library web page for the mission. The feedback vary from outright opposition to the boundary adjustment to involved requests for FERC to look deeper and search extra data.

One commenter stated, “LLG’s motive in searching for this boundary adjustment, then, is finest understood by reference to a single phrase: Cash. The topic acreage is extraordinarily helpful, and LLG can be free to promote to the very best bidder, freed from the constraints so correctly imposed by FERC and her sister companies.”

The Monongalia County Fee stated the Lake Lynn Challenge “is a useful useful resource to not solely our county, however residents and guests from the tri-state space. With the leisure wants of our residents in additional demand than ever earlier than, any acreage being faraway from the mission boundary might have a big affect on these assets. We consider it’s crucial that the operations proceed on the Lake Lynn Dam in addition to the leisure packages for which the mission gives comparable to boat/dock entry, fishing, swimming, strolling trails, nature viewing areas together with many extra.”

The fee wish to see the recreation administration plan be ready each 5 years as an alternative of the prescribed 10-year timeframe. The fee is happy {that a} shoreline administration plan is being proposed requested {that a} draft SMP be made obtainable inside six months to permit for stakeholder engagement.

Pennsylvania state legislator Charity Grimm Krupa, who represents the realm of Fayette County affected by the dam mission, supplied a number of sharp criticisms of LLG/Eagle Creek.

“Ontario Energy Technology’s lack of maintenance and failure to finish common upkeep is noteworthy because it evidences a common angle of gross neglect and broad contempt for the general public lands below its purview and management because the operator of the ability station and surrounding areas. … For instance, it has been reported that the general public restrooms are unusable because the bogs, urinals, and sinks will not be operable and no rest room paper or cleaning soap is supplied.”

The proposed boundary adjustment, she stated, “is a ridiculous proposal and should be opposed. For era after era, the topic land (which features a public park, nature viewing space, and public entry marina) has been loved by the individuals of our native communities. For many years, the operators of the ability station and surrounding areas have honored the specific dedication to this leisure profit.”

Commenters have recommended varous alternate options to FERC relating to the boundary adjustment. One commenter put them succinctly: Depart the historic mission boundaries in place, permitting them to stay below FERC’s regulation; or acquire a contractual assure from Eagle Creek that the eliminated properties will likely be donated or transferred to an applicable company to take care of them as forested public land or wildlife sanctuary, obtainable to the general public for mountain climbing and wildlife viewing alternatives.

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