Community, Government, Latest News, Monongalia County

Energy Regulatory Commission declines invitation to revisit Lake Lynn Dam issue

MORGANTOWN — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday declined an invitation submitted jointly by the Monongalia County Commission and Planning Commission to revisit Lake Lynn Dam and gather more public input.

FERC said it doesn’t need to return at this time.

The two Mon County panels joined with the Cheat Lake Environment and Recreation Association to extend the invitation on Dec. 7.

They said the County Commission and Planning Commission were extending the invitation to allow FERC to field additional public feedback following proposed changes on the Lake Lynn hydroelectric project re-licensing and additional information submitted following FERC’s Sept. 25 public hearing in Morgantown.

They wrote, “Please be advised that the county would like to also invite you to visit the site and areas impacted by this process, possibly including, but not limited to a visit by boat — such was offered by County Commissioners Arnett and Sikora,” the letter says.

CLEAR also sent its own letter requesting another public hearing on Nov. 28.

FERC replied on Friday that is has already held two National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) scoping meetings and attended a project visit in September. “All three events were well attended. Everyone who asked to speak at the scoping meetings was given the opportunity to do so.”

In addition, written comments were accepted through Oct. 25, FERC said, and 31 letters have been filed.

“There will be additional requests for public comment later in the re-licensing process,” FERC said, “including when staff issues a notice that the application is ready for environmental analysis and when the NEPA document is issued.

“Based upon the record at this time, we believe we have a good understanding of the issues that this project presents and we do not intend to hold or attend additional scoping meetings or site visits,” FERC concluded.

FERC is reviewing Lake Lynn Generation’s application to renew its Lake Lynn Hydroelectric Project license. As part of the application, Lake Lynn Generation/Eagle Creek Renewable Energy proposes to remove 307.1 acres surrounding Cheat Lake from federal protection. FERC held a public hearing in Morgantown on the case on Sept. 25.

The companies say they will make no changes to operations or facilities. Lake Lynn proposes to adjust the project boundary to include only lands necessary for operation and maintenance of the power station. They will not sell any land. The eight non-contiguous areas in the boundary proposal will allow them to adjust the project boundary to follow the contour line of the high reservoir elevation, 870 feet, and bring all parts of the boundary into the highest contour line.

But the proposal has generated significant skepticism and opposition from the public and various groups with an interest in the lake — who fear the land may in fact be sold off to developers. The letters of concern also include criticism of the company’s maintenance of the public access areas.

TWEET @DominionPostWV