We need your help.
The dams on the Eel River, known as the Potter Valley Project, have just begun the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) relicensing process. This is our opportunity to call for their decommissioning and removal. The dams are licensed as a hydroelectric project with the capacity to generate 9.4 megawatts, a measly amount of power and three times what they have actually generated over the past decade. Click here to learn more about the Eel River Dams.
We need members of the public to join us in submitting comments to FERC by August 4 that call for two main things. First, for FERC to reissue their scoping notice for this project and include project decommissioning and removal as an alternative for detailed study in the Environmental Impact Study. Second, we need members of the public, particularly those who live downstream from the dams, to demand transparency of dam safety materials.
Scott Dam, the larger of the two dams that make up the project, is classified as “high hazard”. This classification means that in the event of dam failure, loss of human life is probable. Dam owners PG&E have an Emergency Action Plan as required by their license with FERC. However this Emergency Action Plan is kept secret from the public. We need you to tell FERC that your safety matters.
Visit our page for Eel River Dams Relicensing to learn about dam safety concerns, and the dams impact to native fisheries and our local economy.
Please copy and paste or print our sample comments, or write your own!
Send your comment to:
Kimberly Bose, Secretary
Dear Secretary Bose,
I have several concerns about relicensing the Cape Horn and Scott Dams on the upper mainstem Eel River.
Scott Dam is rated “high hazard” because loss of human life is probable in the event of dam failure. Yet the public can’t access the Emergency Action Plan for dam failure or most of the information FERC has about the safety issues these dams present. For local communities to respond appropriately to an emergency, we need to know what to expect: how the notification process works, which parts of our community may be inundated by floodwaters, and where to evacuate.
The Oroville Dam crisis has shown we cannot assume even recently relicensed dams are safe. FERC should address the issues around the safety of the Eel River dams in this relicensing process. To do so, FERC must also insure the public can access at least some of the material now classified as Critical Energy Infrastructure Information, including the Emergency Action Plan.
As well, FERC should reissue the Scoping Document to project decommissioning and dam removal as an alternative for detailed study in the EIS. The project appears to be an economic liability. It clearly presents safety issues. The power it produces could be replaced with five acres of solar panels. And it certainly entails significant and lasting environmental effects on the Eel River. Thus, what the Scoping Document describes as a “viable, safe, and clean renewable source of power and consumptive water to the region” may not be economically viable, may not be safe, and may be readily replaced with lower-impact power sources.