Meetings planned on Conn. River relicensing
As the two utilities that generate hydroelectricity along the Connecticut River prepare for their first relicensing in decades, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is planning a series of meetings to gather public comment studies that it plans to incorporate into the process.
The first of the meetings for First Light Power’s Northfield Mountain and Turners Falls hydroelectic licenses, an overview of 36 studies being proposed, is scheduled for Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Northfield Mountain Visitors Center.
Additional sessions, looking at issues involving geology and soils as well as developmental resources, will take place there Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m. and all day Wednesday. Future sessions looking at aquatic resources, as well as terrestrial and other issues, are scheduled at the same location for May 21 and 22, June 4 and 5.
Studies involving recreational facilities and resources are scheduled to be discussed at the Northfield Mountain location June 11 to 13.
Written comments on the proposals are due by July 15.
The proposals, recommended earlier this year by a variety of state, federal, regional and nonprofit environmental organizations, call for examining whether First Light should be required to study no longer using the Connecticut River as part of its Northfield Mountain operation, and also how operation of the generating facilities affect streambank erosion, fish habitat, water quality, recreation and a host of other issues.
Additional meetings are planned on TransCanada hydroelectric facilities in Vermont, including the Vernon plant. Those meetings begin today at 9 a.m. in West Lebanon, N.H.
A formal comment period extends through mid-July to which the companies must issue revised plans by Aug. 13. FERC will issue by Sept. 12 its final guidance for study plans, and those studies will take place during 2014 and 2015.
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