Sunday, November 18, 2007

FERC is your friend! (sort of.)

hi everyone
hope you are doing well

I am putting together some info that will help citizens quickly inform themselves of the issues surrounding FERC project #2210, AKA the Smith Mountain Lake

Once upon a time I enjoyed swimming in this lake. I wouldn't put my little toe in it now. if the fecal coliform doesn't get you, the bad ju-ju will.

how sad am I that this AEP profit pool actually serves as a public reservoir as well? very sad.

if you think that NOW is a good time to hold AEP accountable for its natural and human resource management policies at the Smith Mountain hydropower project, you are either on top on your game as a seeker of discreetly presented information, or you have great intuition, because an important clock started ticking at Smith Mountain on November 1, 2007. On that day AEP issued a preliminary licensing proposal (PLP) to renew its license to operate the dam at Smith Mountain.

FERC, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission, will accept public input about this proposal up to three months after the Nov. 1, when the PLP was issued. is the fun website where AEP publishes news on their re-licensing proposal. if the PDF associated with this PLP was not meant to bore the reader to tears, it doesn't show. so I am sifting through this info to find relevant stuff on the ways this project impacts, and has impacted, communities in this region and around the globe. you might cry when you read about the fish that die when water pressure shifts cause them body trauma, but at least you will not be crying tears of boredom.

now don't get me wrong - I am not looking to see the dam shut down, at least in light of the information I have now. the drowning of Smith Mountain Valley cannot be un-done, so it would not make very much sense to me to waste all the sacrifices that were made by area communities to enable this source of energy independence to exist.

I do, however, feel like it is an appropriate time to give FERC and the AEP a bit of a shopping list that includes stuff like...

- reservoir water that does not taste like gas, and transmit giardia and tapeworm.

- suitable acknowledgement and recompense for the sacrifices made by native peoples and members of preexisting communities when their churches, burial sites, and Lord knows what else got inundated

- resource management policies that do more than just say, 'our environmental studies have concluded that there is not that much nature to manage at the project, so we are not going to worry about it'.

- real answers and solutions for home and land owners who thought they were making a smart investment when they purchased property along the shores of the impoundment project at Smith Mountain

- Etc.

here is the link for folks who want to get started as citizen-consultants to FERC. below are a few excerpts from the PLP report to whet your appetite for clean, un-bewitched water.

bye, thanks for reading, have a beautiful day. -Suzy


Excerpts from


"The reservoirs for the Smith Mountain project were not designed with flood control capabilities."

page 14


"Fecal streptococci also has been measured within the tributaries to Smith Mountain Lake. Of the twenty-two tributaries to the lake monitored in 2003, twenty-one had fecal streptococci isolates from human sources while all had isolates from livestock sources. In 2003, the program recorded six violations of the fecal coliform standards for Virginia, a significant increase in fecal populations compared to the year before."

page 49


"In association with its relicensing efforts, APCO commissioned a Phase I archaeological study at the Leesville Development in 2007). The study, developed in consultation with the SHPO, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and the Virginia Council of Indians, consisted of a literature search, pedestrian reconnaissance of the Leesville Development APE, and an intensive archaeological survey in high probability areas. As part of the Study Plan Development, the participants agreed that the evaluation of previously recorded cultural resources within the APE of the Smith Mountain Development would take place when work is proposed in the area of those resources, and would be the responsibility of the party whose action has the potential to disturb those resources....As Moore and Voigt (2007:131) noted, portions of the Leesville Development which are considered sensitive for archaeological purposes could not be surveyed because they were inundated during the course of the survey fieldwork."

p. 122