AW has filed comments with FERC in response to proposed study plans for the Connecticut River filed by FirstLight and TransCanada. Based on testimony and comments filed by AW, New England FLOW, AMC and other groups, FERC directed FirstLight and TransCanada to study the potential for whitewater boating at Turners Falls, Bellows Falls, and Sumner Falls along the Connecticut River. AW recently filed comments asking FERC to address certain deficiencies in the proposed studies so that the licensees can more completely assess the potential for whitewater boating and through paddling along the Connecticut River.
Specifically, AW objected to proposals by the companies to quantify the demand for whitewater boating in the project. Instead of surveying whitewater boaters at the Deerfield, West and Contoocook rivers about paddlers' interest in boating on the Connecticut, the licensees propose to survey motorized boaters, fisherman and other non-boaters about their interest in whitewater boating and multi-day canoe and kayak trips. AW believes that this approach will severely underestimate the demand for paddling in these areas. In our comments, AW asked FERC to direct the companies to work with AW and other groups to survey their members' interest in paddling on the Connecticut. Various groups also expressed their concerns at the study plan meetings that FirstLight and TransCanada need to survey non-users about the inadequacy of the recreational facilities in order to better understand the recreational interests.
Based on comments filed by AW and other groups, FirstLight and TransCanada will need to revise and submit their final study plans to FERC for approval.