Finally – FERC – the Federal Energy Regulatory Comission – has accepted the declaration of the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) that the Pawtucket Dam has – without question – historic and engineering significance and is individually eligible for the Historic Register. This finding is huge with FERC basically admitting that their previous “No Adverse Effect” position was simply wrong. Of course, they are suggesting “mitigation.” As expected their proposal is unacceptable to the Lowell National Historical Park who will assert the language in the Lowell authorizing law that prohibits a federal agency from issuing a license within the Lowell National Park and Preservation District where an adverse effect has been found.
Kudos to all those individuals and agencies who have standing for pushing back at FERC for the wrong-headed pooh-poohing of the dam’s historic significance. A special kudo to LNHP Superintendent Michael Cressey and Deputy Peter Aucella who cooly and thoroughly organized and refuted the FERC position.
While far from over – it seems that Boott Hydro and the parent company ENEL will not be easily rolling over the positions of the neighbors, the LNHP legislation, the city and the views of so many experts and supporters of the historic Pawtucket Dam.