Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

 
 

Connelly Lake meetings scheduled

 


Meetings next week will give residents and resource agencies officials opportunities to weigh in on plans for the proposed Connelly Lake hydro-electric project.

At 9 a.m. Tuesday on the fourth floor of Juneau’s federal building, Alaska Power and Telephone officials will meet with agency managers about the utility’s draft study plan.

The plan is a description of the current knowledge about the Connelly Lake project area and studies that AP&T is proposing to do. It was submitted to the agencies and to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on June 6. Elected officials also may attend the meeting, said AP&T project manager Glen Martin.

The meeting is a chance for the agencies to express their concerns, including how AP&T should address them, and whether additional studies should be done, Martin said. The meeting will be held in the sustainable fisheries conference room. Comments on the draft plan are due Aug. 4.

A meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday at the ANB Hall is for public comment on which licensing process should be used to develop the project. AP&T is seeking a “traditional licensing process,” as opposed to an “alternative licensing process” because under the former, the project’s environmental assessment is conducted by FERC, not by AP&T, Martin said.

Because of concerns about the project, AP&T sought a process in which FERC leads the environmental review, Martin said. “People may have a better comfort level with results (of an environmental assessment) done by a non-partial entity,” he said.

An “integrated licensing process” is a third option. It’s more rigid and burdensome and is typically used for projects larger than Connelly, Martin said. Public comments on the licensing process are due July 19.

Residents may also express any other concerns they have with the project at the Wednesday meeting. A court reporter will be on hand and a verbatim transcript of the meeting will become part of the project record.

Those not wishing to write to FERC about their concerns can give verbal testimony at the meeting, Martin said.

Martin said construction at Connelly Lake, if the project is pursued, would not come for five or six years. “We’re really at the beginning,” he said.

More information, including Internet addresses for reaching the draft study plan, can be found in a legal advertisement on page 10 of this week’s newspaper.