Gov. Parnell asks FERC boss to speed-up Susitna Dam study approvals

Governor Sean Parnell and the Alaska Energy Authority have appealed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to speed through reviews of the study plans that will determine what effect a 800-foot dam on the Susitna River would have on the river and ecosystem. Governor Parnell has weighed in, going over the Hydro-licensing staff’s heads and straight to the Chairman of FERC, urging for a speedy resolution to the study determination. KTNA’s Lorien Nettleton has more:

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At issue for the moment is a FERC letter from December 31st telling AEA that 13 of the 58 proposed studies were inadequate. FERC then proposed pushing back their determination on the proposed studies two months, to allow the AEA to more clearly define methods and procedures to support good science. AEA objected to that, saying a two-month delay this spring might push their 2013 field studies back an entire year.

Jan Konigsberg of Alaska Hydro Project says the licensing process the AEA agreed to with FERC calls for clear identification of methods and processes by which the studies will be carried out, and it is incumbent on AEA to fully identify those details.


Governor Parnell went all the way to the top, sending a letter to FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff. In his appeal, Parnell insisted that the AEA needed a speedy resolution to this part of the process. That’s a request Konigsberg says is outta line.


It remains to be seen whether FERC complies with the wishes of the State against its own regulatory process. The urgency of the correspondences in the last two weeks exemplifies the complexity of the issue. Konigsberg says it shows how the state’s desire to fast-track the dam has brought new complications.


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