2017-01-13 / Letters

Town should take steps and file as intervenor

To the editor:

The selectmen are currently taking steps to become more involved in the Mousam River hydro/dam issue as a result of the overwhelming referendum results. One of the steps they’ve taken is to invite the Kennebunk Light and Power trustees to a meeting on Jan. 17.

The new town manager, Mike Pardue, has indicated that he has already begun “working to come up with an approach that might be able to identify how to effectively address the dams and how, as a community, we will go forward.” The selectmen are rightly concerned regarding any cost implications to the town depending upon the direction they take on the dams.

At this time, however, with the March 2017 filing deadline less than three months away, it is not critical to focus on developing related costs to alternatives.

Consider that the KLPD has taken in excess of three years to develop the numbers presented in their Wright-Pierce report.

It is unreasonable to expect that the selectmen can develop any accurate costs between now and the required March 2017 KLPD licensing/delicensing filing with FERC.

What can the selectmen do?

Take steps right now to identify the town of Kennebunk as a FERC intervenor. As an official intervenor in the FERC filing, this allows the town to become a stakeholder, with legal rights, in the FERC decision making process.

The town can then utilize the five-year timeframe until 2022 to develop alternatives to dam removal, assess potential liabilities and associated costs;

Don’t rely on input from just the KLPD and the Wright-Pierce report. As we now know, many of the cost projections in the report are based upon significant assumptions that will require extensive refinement, utilizing yet-to-be-performed detailed studies and analysis; and reach out to untapped community, town, state, and federal resources for input in this important process.

For example, the National Park Service, in a letter to KLPD more than a year ago, offered their technical assistance in the FERC hydro-licensing process as well as “specific expertise on recreational, public access, cultural/historic and aesthetic issues” concerning the dams. Other groups have offered assistance as well.

Town of Kennebunk, file as an intervenor now.

Chauncey and Lois C. Copeland

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