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Cheat Lake hydroelectric operator looking to remove lakeside property

What if I told you the Canadian government owns Cheat Lake and is looking to sell off some 300 acres of wooded lakeside property? 

The first part of that question is undeniably true. 

The Lake Lynn Hydroelectric Project, which dammed the Cheat River and formed Cheat Lake, began operations in 1926. 

It’s passed through multiple owners over the years, but these days it’s owned and operated by Lake Lynn Generation, which is a subsidiary of Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, which is a subsidiary of Ontario Power Generation. 

Ontario Power Generation is what’s known as a “crown company,” meaning it has a single government shareholder. In this case, it’s the provincial government of Ontario, Canada. 

As for the second part of the opening query — the selling of land — here’s what we do know. 

The current Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license for the Lake Lynn Project was issued on Dec. 27, 1994, and expires on Nov. 30, 2024. 

Lake Lynn Generation actually began the lengthy relicensing process back in 2019. 

According to information on the FERC website, Lake Lynn Generation is proposing no changes to its existing facilities or operations but is proposing new environmental measures and the removal of just over 300 acres of land from multiple locations along the existing project boundary. 

So, what is to become of that land once it’s no longer part of the utility project? 

The Dominion Post reached out to a representative of Eagle Creek Renewable Energy with that question but didn’t receive a response in time for this report. 

Concerned Cheat Lake residents fear it’ll be going up for sale. 

A volunteer group calling itself the Cheat Lake Commission says part of that land is along the Cheat Lake Park area.  

The group says the park area has been largely neglected since it was purchased by Ontario Power Generation in 2019 — and particularly since 2021, when the subsidiary of its subsidiary, Lake Lynn Generation, began operating the facility remotely from a site in Tennessee.  

It’s easy to imagine, the group posits in a presentation compiled for a forthcoming public meeting, how much the value of 300 acres surrounding Cheat Lake has risen since it was acquired via eminent domain in the 1920s to support the hydroelectric project. 

As part of the National Environmental Policy Act process, FERC will conduct a public meeting at 6 p.m. on Sept. 25 at Cranberry Hotel, 2700 Cranberry Square.