Please see the below note from “Friends of the Kinni”:
Important meeting with the City on Monday
The “Friends of the Kinni” is a grassroots citizens group that is concerned about the impact of our two dams on the long-term health of our river. The “Friends” recently formed in response to the City’s application for a renewal of the 30-year license to operate its dams. If the license is renewed, it will allow dam-operation until 2048. We also feel that the return of our Falls to River Falls will bring new benefits to our community: urban recreation, beautification, business, a rallying point for City pride, tourism, and more.
PLEASE come to City Hall on March 24th at 5:30pm. We need all interested people to be at this meeting. This is the only official FERC licensing meeting the City has scheduled between now and 2016.
THIS IS OUR BEST CHANCE to make an impression, and to ask for studies to determine the impact of our dams. Come, and be heard. Please share this email with other friends of the Kinni.
Last night, the Utility Advisory Board of River Falls held a short meeting to tell us about the re-licensing process or the dams.
Turnout was modest (maybe 25 people) – many thanks to the “Friends” who attended!
• Keith Rodli asked for clarification about who decides which studies will be conducted to evaluate dam re-licensing. The City staff told us that the public would be part of the process of choosing the studies.
• Susan Goode asked that we get enough financial information about operating costs and revenues, as well as past and future repairs costs, so that we can really know whether the dams make us money, or are losing money. The City told us they, too, want to get to the bottom of short- and long-term costs.
• Gary Horvath asked about the $2 million bank stabilization repair that FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) wants — and that the City has not yet fixed. City staff said that vibration from the diesel generators was making the cliff near the powerplant unstable. Now that the diesels have been removed it is not clear whether that bank is still unstable.
• Rob Chambers asked if the City had considered any of the other types of licenses that FERC has available, or had they only considered a 30-year renewal. The City said they had not had any internal discussions about this, and just went ahead with a 30-year license application. Rob followed up with a comment about the licensing process (called TLP)— the City had told FERC that the City is justified in asking for a special exception so they could use the TLP process because the hydro projects are small (this is true); and because they expected “the level of controversy [for keeping the dams] to be low.”
The City has told us that they want an open dialogue. And last night the Utility staff added that the City has not yet taken a stand on whether the dams should stay or be removed. We think we have an excellent opportunity to bring the community together, and help gather the information the City needs to make a good decision. And, now, we need your help: Remember to come to City Hall on March 24th at 5:30pm.