American Whitewater and Vermont Paddlers Club today appealed the decision by the Vermont
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that limits whitewater boating opportunities on
the Green River in Morristown. DEC issued a water quality certification for the Morrisville
Hydroelectric Project that reduces opportunities for whitewater kayakers to paddle the Green
River compared with natural conditions, and in addition, eliminates all opportunities for
scheduled whitewater boating releases that are enjoyed by scores of paddlers from the northeast
as well as boaters from Canada under current operations. The Green River is a highly valued
whitewater river containing a series of challenging drops and falls as it descends from the Green
River Reservoir to the Lamoille River. The releases also have a positive economic impact on the
Morrisville Water and Light sought permission from the State to continue to operate its four
hydroelectric facilities, including one at the Green River Dam in Morrisville. The project is
currently being relicensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and certification or
waiver by the state is required before a federal license can be issued. DEC will require the
municipal utility to substantially reduce generation at the Green River Dam, resulting in an
estimated $3.7 million loss over a 30-year term of the federal license. Despite finding that the
Green River under current conditions generally meets the state’s water quality standards
and supports healthy aquatic habitat, DEC is mandating major changes in the way that the project
will operate to the extent that it will no longer be economically viable to continue hydropower
According to Robert Nasdor, Northeast Stewardship Director for American Whitewater, “We
support efforts to protect Vermont’s rivers and recreation opportunities, however the DEC
decision fails to protect those important values and lacks sufficient justification.”
Studies conducted during the ongoing dam relicensing show that the Green River currently provides
healthy aquatic habitat in the reservoir and the River, according to the organization.
According to the utility, it is unwilling to operate the project at a loss and may seek to
decommission the project and seek an alternate and more costly source of energy. The Green River
Dam impounds the Green River Reservoir and is the centerpiece of the state park in Hyde Park.
Decommissioning of hydropower projects like the one on the Green River often lead to dam removal,
an outcome supported by the boating groups.
AW is seeking support from the boating community for the appeal to cover the cost of experts and
other litigation expenses. CLICK HERE
to donate and
write "Green River Litigation Fund" in the comments area. Thanks for your support.