CT River Update: AW Responds to Flow Study, License Application (MA/VT/NH)
The relicensing of 5 hydropower projects along the Connecticut River is moving closer to conclusion with the release of the whitewater boating study report for Bellows Falls and Sumner Falls (NH/VT). American Whitewater and its affilliates Appalachian Mountain Club and New England FLOW filed comments today in support of the study conclusion that valuable whitewater boating opportunities exist at both locations. At Sumners Falls, our goal is to assure that scheduled releases are provided throughout the boating season, and the study demonstrated that TransCanada is able to generate daily boatable flows. At Bellows Falls, the study likewise found that restoring flows to the dewatered natural river channel will provide high quality boating opportunities once a dangerous low-head dam is removed and adequate access is provided. AW and its partners also recently filed comments in response to the Draft License Application filed by FirstLight for the Turners Falls and Northfield Mountain (MA) hydropower projects. In its Licenense application, FirstLight proposes no change to its current operations, meaning that it hopes to continue its current practice of destroying aquatic habitat and eliminating recreation opportunities in the 2.7-mile dewatered natural river channel. Our organizations condemn the efforts by power companies that blatently disregard its obligations under the Clean Water Act, and we will continue our advocacy to assure that our resources are protected. In an interesting development, both FirstLight and TransCanada recently announced that they intend to sell their hydropower projects on the Connecticut River, so we will be negotiating with new owners once the sale of these projects is completed.