Hydro developer gives up on Jackson Dam power project


Two weeks after conservation groups filed a motion to dismiss a permit to construct hydropower facilities on the upper Snake River, the prospecting company withdrew their permit. Those of us who treasure the Snake River and its spectacular wild trout fishery can breathe a little easier. From the original February 4, 2004 press release:

  • Scott Bosse, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, (406) 556-2823, Cell: 406/581-7962
  • Brett Swift, American Rivers, (503) 827-8648
  • Rebecca Sherman, Hydropower Reform Coalition, (971) 244-0836

River advocates file motion to kill Jackson Dam hydro project JACKSON, WY— Two conservation groups petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today to put an end to a proposed hydroelectric project on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition and American Rivers say the hydro project proposed at Jackson Lake Dam should be rejected because it is illegal, sets poor precedent, and would negatively impact the Snake River' s multi-million dollar wild trout fishery. The Jackson Lake Dam hydro project was first proposed by Symbiotics, LLC of Rigby, Idaho in April 2001. But FERC, the federal agency charged with licensing private hydropower projects, rejected that proposal, citing a federal law that prohibits the construction of hydro projects on National Park lands. That position was strongly supported by the National Park Service and by the Department of the Interior' s legal advisors.In June 2002, Symbiotics – under the name Jackson Lake Hydro LLC – resubmitted a slightly revised Jackson Dam hydro proposal. Despite stated opposition by the Bureau of Reclamation, FERC has yet to act on the second permit application, prompting some river advocates to be concerned that the permit might get approved this time around. “National parks are the last place where power companies should be allowed to prospect for energy,” said Scott Bosse of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. Over the past four years, Symbiotics has applied for permits to hydro projects at 250 sites across the West, earning a reputation as one of the nation' s most aggressive hydro speculators. The company says that, unlike the project proposed in the first application, this second project could be constructed using only an island of Bureau of Reclamation land around Jackson Lake Dam. The $14.3 million project would require the construction of a powerhouse, installation of a 200-foot-long steel penstock, and 300 feet of electrical transmission line. “Grand Teton National Park is a national treasure that deserves more protection – not harmful, unnecessary development,” Bosse said.In their petition to FERC, the conservation groups argued that laying the foundation for a new hydro project in a national park would set a dangerous precedent, compromise the ecological and economic value of the Park, and potentially harm a wild trout fishery worth millions of dollars to the Jackson area economy.Brett Swift of American Rivers said, “The proposed Jackson Lake hydro project has generated a tide of both public and federal agency opposition. It is time for FERC to do the right thing – reject this proposal and protect the valuable natural resources of Grand Teton National Park.” Although the application has been sitting at FERC for a year and a half, under procedural rules, FERC does not have to respond to the conservation groups' petition or take action.For more about the conservation groups, visit our websites: