The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, has denied a request by the National Marine Fisheries Service to hold a new hearing on proposed climate change studies for the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project. The proposals were part of the original Study Plan submitted by the Alaska Energy Authority, AEA, but were deemed unnecessary by FERC. In a written order, FERC Deputy Secretary Nathaniel Davis says that, “the Commission does not agree that the climate change studies proposed by AEA and requested by NMFS are likely to yield reliable data that can be used in the development of license requirements, particularly when balanced against the cost of such assessments.”
Seven Alaska Native Corporations are expressing concerns over trespassing and land use by Alaska Energy Authority contractors working on the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric project. The concerns are laid out in a letter addressed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who is in charge of licensing projects such as the proposed 735-foot high dam. The Alaska Energy Authority, AEA, is currently conducting fifty-eight studies to gauge the environmental impact and viability of the Susitna-Watana dam. According to the letter signed by representatives of the Cook Inlet Region Native Landowner Working Group, thirty-nine of the fifty-eight projects will require the use of Native-owned land.
In a previous story which aired on Tuesday, January 22nd, KTNA reported that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had yielded to pressure from Alaska Governor Sean Parnell and members of the State Legislature to amend its timelines for the Suisitna Watana Hydroelectric Dam study process. KTNA was in error in reporting that FERC rescinded their December 31st judgement that 13 of 58 studies were inadequate.
FERC did not reverse its decision to alter the timeline for issuing a Study Plan Determination, as reported by KTNA. in fact, FERC stood by its December 31 directive to AEA to provide more study details on 13 of the 58 proposed studies.
In a letter dated January 17, FERC reiterated to AEA that the lacking details were -quote – “integral to determining whether the studies would gather the needed information to process AEA’s license application. -” end quote
FERC did change the May 14 Study Plan Determination deadline to April 1, shortening the public comment period.
In the story, which aired on Tuesday, January 22nd, the KTNA newsroom also misidentified Jan Konigsberg, who is in fact an independent observer of the Susitna Watana Hydroelectric Project.
Also, the KTNA newsroom used the term “Legislative delegation”, which does not, in fact, mean that senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich , nor representative Don Young have voiced any approval or opposition to the proposed Dam. In the story of January 22nd, KTNA used the term ‘Alaska Delegation’ to mean the senators and representatives of the Alaska State Legislature. KTNA regrets the error.
Steven Hawley’s book “Recovering a Lost River” chronicles the impact of damming rivers in the Pacific Northwest. In this conversation, Hawley talked about many of the historical, and potential, ramifications of dam building on salmon and communities. Lorien Nettleton hosted this program, live from the KTNA studio. The program is an hour.
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Alaska Energy Authority officials updated the House Energy Committee Thursday on the status of the proposed Susitna Watana Dam. AEA’s Executive Director Sara Fisher-Goad and Susitna Hydropower Lead Project Manager Wayne Dyok laid out the timeline leading up to their licensing application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which they plan to file by the end of 2015.
AEA hopes the dam will be licensed by 2017, with construction completed by 2023. That timeline would aid the State’s goal of supplying 50% of Alaska’s energy needs with renewables by 2025. (more…)
The Susitna Community Council has joined the Talkeetna, Trapper Creek, and Chase community councils in filing a motion to intervene with the Alaska Energy Authority’s license application with the Federal Energy Regulation Authority for the Susitna-Watana Dam. The Motion to Intervene is a step that allows interested parties to become participants in the permitting process, and is not a statement of being in favor or opposed to the dam’s construction. (more…)
The Coalition for Susitna Dam Alternatives is hosting an informational session on Saturday, and they will be discussing a number of the many issues surrounding the proposed Susitna-Watana Dam, and ways public involvement might have an impact on the process. Some residents have expressed concerns that public input has been limited by the fast pace of the Dam’s licensing process, which evaluates environmental, engineering studies on a fast-pace. (more…)
KTNA’s morning news, weather forecast, Denali echoes, and announcements for January 6th. Host is Trisha Costello. Headlines: Susitna Dam alternatives seminar, Su Valley Ski team heads to Valdez.
The Talkeetna Community Council voted to file a motion to intervene in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s permitting process for the proposed Susitna-Watana Dam. The Motion to Intervene is a step that allows interested parties to become participants in the permitting process. Once filed, they will have the right to request rehearing of Commission orders and seek relief of final agency action sin the U. S. Circuit Courts of Appeal. The motion to intervene will also require the Alaska Energy Authority to provide the Council with regular progress updates. (more…)