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FOR delivers over 18,000 signatures in support of protecting the American River in CaliforniaSubmitted by John Seebach on Sun, 2005-09-11 08:00
Although the agenda was packed for Sacramento Municiple Utility District's (SMUD) November 3rd board meeting, one of the items not up for discussion was how their ratepayers feel about the current relicensing of SMUD's 17-dam hydropower project on the South Fork American River.In July, SMUD submitted a license application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that will govern operations of the Upper American River Project (UARP) for the next 40 years. Many stakeholders, including HRC member Friends of the River, felt SMUD's application did not go far enough to mitigate the impacts that generating power has caused to fish and wildlife in the area, as well as the ability of the public to recreate on public waters. The South Fork American River is one of the most popular whitewater boating runs in California, and arguably, the entire country. In July, Friends of the River conducted a professional poll to gauge the interest of SMUD ratepayers for additional environmental protections as part of the new hydropower operating license. The result was overwhelmingly in favor of stronger environmental protections. To demostrate ratepayer support, Friends of the River delivered over 18,000 SMUD ratepayer signatures. SMUD has agreed to work with agencies and public stakeholders to resolve differences between the submitted license application and the package of environmental mitigations the agencies and NGOs have agreed to. Meetings to find settlement are scheduled to begin next week.