2017-06-09 / Letters

Mousam dams debate continues to flow

To the editor:

Thank you to all who voted in the non-binding referendum last November to keep the Mousam dams. Many are under the impression that the dams are saved, but if further action is not taken by town leadership or others, it is highly likely they will be removed.

The KLP board engaged in conversations with various groups starting in September 2011, nearly two years before the first public meeting was held in July 2013.

Wright Pierce did a study that cost in excess of $250,000 and took five years. A draft was presented in November 2015, followed by two final reports. Those were questioned, so GZA environmental was hired to do a three-week peer review. They relied on data supplied by WP, who obtained the data from KLP.

The results were released on June 10, 2016. On June 14, a majority of voters elected new trustee Dan Bartilucci, who supports keeping the dams. The very next day, before Dan was seated, trustee Berry motioned to surrender the license for generation, and the vote was taken.

No public comment was allowed until after the vote that night.

There was a huge cheer from the dam removal supporters at the meeting. Historically when generation is stopped, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) orders the dams removed 90 percent of the time.

So, no, KLP did not order the dams removed, but their actions will most likely lead to that. There was little time to review the GZA report prior to the 06/15 vote, which contained a major item that was overlooked.

GZA stated it was possible to improve generation back to its old levels by 2-3 times, which was greater than the 2.2 million KWH/year generated from 1981-2006, or about $200,000 to $300,000 per year, far above the $114,000 in the study (pg. 3 GZA report June 2016). That production equals almost $20 million in revenue, not the $6 million to $10 million cited in the study. That means the dams make, not lose, money. Why wasn’t this studied and determined before taking a vote to surrender?

There are still significant bond payments on the current license through 2022. Generation (cost savings) is crucial to offsetting these costs.

Scott Ducharme has 40 years experience as a marine engineer is and running for trustee on June 13. He will make maintenance a priority and be a voice for the people. It’s time for a change at KLP. Let’s elect someone who wants to bring these dams back to their potential and preserve the character of the town.

Ward Hansen
Kennebunk

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