Governor Paul R. LePage has called attention to the precarious future of many of the state’s small hydropower resources due to expensive and burdensome federal regulatory relicensing requirements.
The Governor recently wrote Maine’s congressional delegation to notify them of the uncertain future of three small hydropower facilities in Kennebunk caused by a one-size-fits-all, expensive, lengthy federal regulatory process designed for facilities a thousand times larger. Governor LePage also asked the delegation to take action to modernize the permitting process, so these renewable generating assets can continue operating.
“The Kesseln Dam, one of the three small hydropower dams owned by the Kennebunk Light and Power District, has been providing reliable, renewably generated electricity to the citizens of Kennebunk for well over a hundred years,” said Governor LePage. “Yet, the federal process to re-permit this small hydropower operation is the same as it is for the Hoover Dam. It takes years and costs millions of dollars because activists not looking to improve projects or address substantive environmental concerns, but simply to block critical energy infrastructure across the country often hijack the process. The expensive engineering analyses, sampling studies and installations for fish passage required for a new license, regardless facility’s size or environmental impact may cause the state to lose these clean energy resources permanently. The federal government needs to modernize the federal permitting process so regulatory requirements no longer hold our local economies back.”
This is not the first time Governor LePage has appealed to Congress to reduce the regulatory burden on the state’s small hydropower operations. In 2015, the Governor testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, stating America’s energy challenges can be met with our continent’s natural resources, but only if the permitting process is not left to languish.
“Maine has one of the cleanest electricity-generating fleets in the country, and hydropower is one of the major reasons why,” he said. “Right now, 26 percent of the state’s electricity generation comes from hydropower. These facilities should be able to continue operating. We need to stop overzealous activists from taking advantage of the regulatory process and tying our state and country up into knots.”