Posted the following:
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC),
I am posting this comment in regards to the preliminary permit issused last fall for the proposed Black Canyon Hydroelectric Project that would construct a new dam on the North Fork Snoqualmie River.
The North Fork of the Snoqualmie River has been recommended by the Forest Service as a Wild and Scenic River, is adjacent to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Mt. Si Natural Resources Conservation Area, is on a reach identified as a Protected Area from hydropower development by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, and flows through the Snoqualmie Forest protected from development by conservation easement purchased by King County with the goal "to prevent any use of the forestland that will significantly impair or interfere with its conservation value".
Proceeding with this project would have a hugely negative impact on the local environment and the local recreational community.
While the developer has assured recereational conservation groups such as American Whitewater that development would mitigate for whitewater recreation, the details are extremely vague and proposed studies appear inadequate. Furthermore, I believe this river should remain in its natural free-flowing condition and industrial development of this canyon is not in the public interest.
As a commercial river guide and private whitewater rafter, canoeist and kayaker, I have a vested interest in wild and free flowing rivers. But so does the local community, the environment and the generations that have to live with the world that we leave to them. I certainly want to protect this canyon for the confidence in knowing that there are wild places still left for us to go to, that there are still areas that have no/little development that allow us to wonder at and interact with our natural world. With this resource being so close to the urban development of one of our greatest cities, Seattle, this is a wonderful opportunity to provide for high quality wilderness that all people can enjoy.
I am shocked that FERC is considering such a proposal and that FERC concluded that the concerns raised in the comment period on the preliminary permit to investigate the site were premature because they address the potential effects of constructing and operating the proposed project. FERC further noted that the permittee would need to address these issue when filing a license application, and that would be the appropriate forum to address the issues.
The time is now to deny any further permit or proposal for investigation, pre-development planning or development. I have been elated at the removal or proposed removal of existing dams in the Pacific NW, especially on the White Salmon and the Elwha. I am greatly concerned that this development proposal has progressed to this point and I am very interested in getting this proposal dismissed so that the public can work to provide for permanant protections for this wonderfully unique and special place. The public is NOT interested in development of this canyon as a hydroelectric resource and I would encourage you to have the resolve to revoke the current preliminary permit and discontinue any further consideration of any development proposals.
Thank you for your time and consideration, I trust that FERC will take into account the public dissent and make a fair and mindful decision on this issue.
July 20, 2012