New License Issued for Tapoco Project


Tennessee's only licensed hydropower project was granted another license today. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a new license for ALCOA's Tapoco project on the Little Tennessee River in North Carolina and Tennessee.Coalition members American Rivers and Tennessee Clean Water Network (TCWN) were signatories to the settlement. Coalition member American Whitewater's concerns were never properly addressed, and they did not sign.From the FERC press release (scroll to page 2):"[T]oday, the Commission issued a new license and approved a settlement agreement for the Tapoco Project on the Little Tennessee and Cheoah Rivers in Graham and Swain counties in North Carolina. " A key aspect of this case was a land exchange negotiated between the licensee, Alcoa Power Generating Inc. (APGI), and the National Park Service. The exchange resulted in land, originally located within the project boundary and in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, being removed from the park and exchanged for other lands. Congress enacted legislation in 2004 authorizing the exchange, which would eliminate issues raised by the fact that a portion of the project is currently located in a national park."The project will provide 380 megawatts of electricity generated from a renewable resource while protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife, recreation and aquatic resources near the project."