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.