Pawtucket Dam Issue Continues to be a “Hot Topic”

The recent rather positive statement from FERC – the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – about ENEL’s $6 million proposed bladder dam project for the Pawtucket Dam was detailed in a Lowell Sun story by Jen Myers followed by a soft “let everyone sit down and talk” editorial. The letter has brought a more vigorous reaction from the concerned neighbors and Bob Gagnon, Chairman of the Lowell Flood Owners Group.

As I noted to Jen, this FERC letter is not the last word. There is still time for more public comment and input to FERC – the deadline is July 10. Expect other governemental entities to present a different picture to FERC. The reality is the is that the folks who oppose the change expect a long process most likely involving lawyers before this is over.

Just a few notes about the Pawtucket Dam issues – as food for thought:

*Lowell was settled and became America’s first industrial city because of the Pawtucket Falls.
*The Falls are in the protected boundaries of the Lowell National Historical Park.
*The Pawtucket Falls and adjacent buildings are on the National Register in a National Historic Landmark District within a National Park.
*The National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Massachusetts and the State Preservation Officer are on record as agreeing with the National Park opposition.
*The city of Lowell and the towns of Chelmsford and Tyngsboro agree with opposing this project.
*The Director of the National Park has asserted that energy projects don’t get a pass on complying with historic preservation laws – the law authorizing the LNHP prohibits projects that would have an adverse effect on the park’s historic resources.
*The US Department of the Interior’s Regional Solicitor as filed a Notice of Intervention as standing for a lawsuit.

The historic resources in Lowell – natural and manmade – are important. As I’ve noted – this is far from over. You as an individual, a concerned citizen as well as organizations can still voice your views.

4 Responses to Pawtucket Dam Issue Continues to be a “Hot Topic”

  1. Deb Forgione says:

    This is exactly why there are federal regulations requiring review – to allow the public and other local, state, and federal agencies, and interested parties the opportunity to discuss issues We live in a democracy and if we don’t like something, we as citizens have the right to oppose it and possibly change it…it is not over.

    Also who will challenge the fish count theory? According to the people who fish, the counts and scenarios are flawed if not just wrong, If we really “care” about the fish then stop crushing them in the turbines at the power plant