2016-12-16 / Letters

Attempts to inform have been consistent

To the editor:

On Nov. 8, Kennebunk voters were asked to weigh in on questions that relate to Kennebunk Light and Power’s Mousam River dams — and many did.

Missing from the ballot questions was any consideration of the actual costs of dam maintenance, hydropower operations and future fish passage.

What are the costs of keeping the dams? Who would pay for it? How much is the hydropower actually worth? Assessing the true economic and ecological costs of maintaining these dams and their antiquated hydropow- er operations is critical.

Faced with a looming federal relicensing process the KLP board of trustees and general manager have been working to find answers. They have held public meetings and commissioned two separate third-party studies to determine what best to do with the Kesslen, Twine Mill and Dane Perkins dams.

The most recent study indicated that maintaining the hydro operations would cost $12 to $14 million more than removing the dams.

Seeing the upcoming dam relicensing as both a challenge and an opportunity, Maine Rivers has partnered with local organizations and volunteers to collect solid data upon which good decisions can be made.

We’ve dug into archives to understand the river’s long history and supported local water quality testing efforts to better understand current conditions.

In 2009, we organized a conference to focus on the Mousam and in May 2015 we cosponsored a two-hour public forum held at Kennebunk Town Hall to discuss the future of the Mousam and the upcoming dam relicensing. Why? We believe that people need more information about the river, its health, the relicensing process and the likely costs.

More than 100 people attended the May forum. Those interested can find it posted under “Mousam River Forum” on vimeo.com.

Far from sneaking into town, as some have claimed in letters to the editor, we’ve worked to broadly share information about the Mousam River and its potential.

Landis Hudson, executive director
Maine Rivers

Return to top