Battle Won at Fort Halifax


The 1.5-megawatt Fort Halifax Project on the Sebasticook River in Maine remains to be partially removed despite an effort by local interest groups to appeal the decision.

In June of 2002, FPL Energy filed an application to surrender the license for the Fort Halifax project because it had determined that the economics of the project would not justify the costs of installing and maintaining the fish lift required by the agreement and the license. As part of the application, FPL Energy proposed to remove several sections of the dam to provide fish passage. In January, 2004, FERC granted the surrender application and required the licensee to remove the dam in accordance with its modified proposal.

FPL Energy's proposal was generally supported by state and federal agencies and by conservation groups, primarily because partial dam removal would provide fish passage. The dam removal was opposed by a number of individuals, Save Our Sebasticook, and the Town, which were concerned with preserving the reservoir and its environment and with anticipated adverse environmental and other effects of drawing down the reservoir.

The request to rehear the application was in the light of information that the opponents assert FERC did not previously have the opportunity to consider. FERC denied the request, and the decision to require partial dam removal in the Fort Halifax Project stands.