Forest City dam, Maine legislation, and FERC surrender

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Maine Governor Paul LePage has proposed legislation that would authorize the state to take over ownership of a dam and water storage project on the U.S.-Canada border.

As initially printed on June 1, 2017, LD 1626 would be a resolve authorizing a Maine state agency to assume ownership of the Forest City Project.  The Forest City Project is located on the East Branch of the St. Croix River which forms the international boundary between the United States and Canada. It is currently owned by Woodland Pulp LLC, which operates it pursuant to a hydropower license issued in 2015 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

But the dam owner has applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for authorization to surrender the Forest City Project's license, on the grounds that conditions imposed in the project's 2015 new license render the project "uneconomical."  The license surrender case remains pending at FERC.

Meanwhile, LD 1626 represents state legislative action that could affect the project.  According to the bill's preamble, project owner Woodland Pulp LLC seeks to transfer to the State the Forest City Project, together with associated flowage rights, easements and related facilities, which would allow the State to regulate the level of water in East Grand Lake to ensure recreational and habitat-related purposes.  LD 1626 would authorize the state to accept the Forest City Project as a donation.  As described in the preamble, bill proponents say this "is necessary to expedite this authorization to stay the proceedings related to the application to surrender the dam that is pending at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission." 

Operationally, LD 1626 would authorize the Bureau of General Services within the state Department of Administrative and Financial Services to assume ownership of the U.S. portion of the project.  It would direct the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to oversee the project's management after its acquisition by the state.

LD 1626 was set for public hearing and work session on June 6.

No comments:

Post a Comment