SWRPC Provides Comments on Relicensing Application for Three Regional Dams

  • June 14, 2024
  • Energy, Natural Resources, SWRPC

On May 22nd, SWRPC submitted written comments regarding Great River Hydro, LLC’s (GRH) final application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to relicense the Wilder, Bellows Falls and Vernon hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut River.  The last license update for the dams was in 1979 and the terms for the new license could be in effect for up to 50 years.  In addition to reviewing power generation plans, the relicensing process requires that FERC give equal consideration to impacts on recreational opportunities, habitat and water quality, and cultural and historical resources.  SWRPC’s planning district includes twenty-four towns that are part of the Connecticut River watershed and four communities are located directly adjacent to the river.

SWRPC’s comments encourage FERC to require that GRH be more intentional and transparent in their planning activities, improve public participation, and strengthen partnerships with local and regional stakeholders. Among SWRPC’s specific recommendations, we ask GRH to develop an Erosion and Riverbank Monitoring and Erosion Control Plan, a Recreation Management Plan, conduct follow-up on recommendations in a Traditional Cultural Properties Study Report, and develop a Mitigation Enhancement Fund to address dam impacts. For additional detail, you can review SWRPC’s letter hereGRH’s licensing documents can be found here.