Thursday, May 27, 2010

Kenai Hydro Concerns

HEA Members form participants favor renewable energy projects and encourage our coop to investigate as many potential options as possible. For most of us, however, that does not mean blanket approval of any renewable energy project regardless of its social, economic, or environmental consequences. Many questions were raised about possible negative affect to Kenai River and it's wider watershed from several small hydroelectric projects proposed by HEA known as Kenai Hydro. Preliminary studies confirmed significant problems for all except the Grant Lake project. To HEA's credit, efforts to move forward those projects were dropped. Now, however, HEA has decided to press on with Grant Lake. The Alaska Center for the Environment, Kenai Watershed Forum, and Friends of Cooper Landing contend that the Grant Lake project proffers the same problems as the discontinued projects and should also be abandoned. HEAMF was contacted and asked to circulate the information below and attached.

HEA Management has been silent regarding this project recently, ostensibly lacking funds to proceed. The sudden effort to move forward on a fast rack came as a surprise to many stakeholders. While HEAMF has not taken a pro or con position with regard to Grant Lake, it is important that the issues surrounding it receive serious consideration well in advance any decision to develop. As an HEA member, you deserve to have an opportunity to understand and weigh in on these issues.

"Keep the Kenai River Wild"

Homer Electric Association is moving forward with plans to put a dam on Grant Lake, a tributary of the Kenai River. The plans call for 3.5 miles of new roads and transmission lines, a 10 foot by 120 foot long dam, a 110 foot high surgetank, penstock and powerhouse. Grant Lake would be flooded and the water flow in Grant Creek would be interrupted. The cost of construction is estimated at 27 million dollars. Alaska Center for the Environment believes that the costs of losing fish habitat in one of Alaska’s favorite and most productive local watersheds is too high of a price to pay for the insignificant amount of power which will be generated as a result of this project. Grant Creek supports anadromous fish species including Chinook, sockeye and Coho salmon as well as resident species including rainbow trout and Dolly Varden. The Kenai River system supports 34 species of anadromous and resident fish.

What Can You Do?
Please attend the FERC Scoping Meeting and Environmental Site Review. The meeting will take place in Moose Pass on June 2, at 7 PM at the Moose Pass Community Hall. It is the only opportunity to meet with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission officials. Laws require the Commission to independently evaluate the environmental effects of issuing an original license for the Grant Lake Project as proposed, and to consider reasonable alternatives to the applicant’s proposal. FERC is seeking information about the possible impacts this project could have. These could include impacts to water quality and quantity, fish and wildlife resources, cultural, recreational, aesthetic and economic impacts, land use, geologic, soil and other terrestrial resources.

Sign petition opposing the dam by visiting:

www.ipetitions.com/petition/keep_the_kenai_wild/

Submit scoping comments to FERC: (due July 6th, 2010)

*For more information about the process: http://www.kenaihydro.com/documents/GrantLake_Scoping1.pdf

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