SMUD Ratepayers Overwhelmingly Support More Water for Fish, Wildlife, and Recreation

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The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) owns a massive, 17-dam hydropower project on the Upper North Fork American River, in California's Sierra foothills. Environmentalists think the application SMUD submitted to FERC this week for a new, 50-year license does not go far enough in protection of aquatic, riparian, and recreational resources. Because SMUD is an investor-owned utility, a professional poll was conducted to query the thoughts of SMUD's ratepayers.A copy of the poll summary can be found at the end of this article. Environmental Improvements Could Be Part Of The Federal Relicensing Of SMUD Hydro FacilitiesContact: Steve Evans: 916-442-3155 x221 Sacramento, CA- Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) ratepayers overwhelmingly support providing more water for fish, wildlife, and recreation as part of the federal relicensing of SMUD's hydroelectric facilities on the South Fork American River, according to the findings of a professional poll conducted in May 2005.The independent poll of 500 randomly selected SMUD ratepayers found that 95% of those polled believe that providing sufficient water from SMUD facilities for fish, wildlife, and plants is important. Of those polled, 83% would favor actual provisions in SMUD's operating license to provide more predictable flows in the river for fish, wildlife, and recreation.The poll was commissioned by Friends of the River, a Sacramento-based river conservation organization, and conducted by the Evans/McDonough Company. The poll has a margin of error of + 4.5 points at the 95% confidence level.SMUD's extensive system of dams, reservoirs, tunnels, and powerhouses on the upper South Fork of the American River and its tributaries is scheduled for the renewal of its federal power license in 2007. Federal and state fish, wildlife, and water quality agencies are currently considering the level of environmental mitigation and restoration that will be provided as operating conditions in the renewed license."Federal renewal of SMUD's license to operate hydroelectric facilities on the South Fork American River provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help restore the river for fish, wildlife and recreation," said Friends of the River Senior Policy Advocate Ron Stork. "SMUD has a reputation as a green utility and it's clear that SMUD ratepayers expect the utility to maintain this reputation by improving the environment in the relicensing process," he said.

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