Fort Halifax dam comes down, Sebasticook revives

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Earlier this week, the end of Fort Halifax dam in Maine marked the beginning of a free flowing Sebasticook river. Huge excavators started tearing down the 29 ft-high dam, that had been there for a century, paving way for habitat for several mussel and fish species.

Supported by federal agencies and HRC members, FPL Energy had recently requested FERC for a permission for a full removal, which FERC granted in a letter issued on July 1, 2008. The original FERC approval, in January 2004, had only allowed for partial removal. However, since total removal was going to allow for better fish passage and FPL Energy preferred to perform a total removal, FERC granted the permission. According to FERC, total removal is also consistent with the prior agreement reached amongst FPL Energy, state and federal agencies, and several NGOs.

Opponents of dam removal including Save our Sebasticook had tried to stop dam removal. Meanwhile, another power company, Essex Hydro Associates, in the 11th hour, had requested to halt dam removal and to take over the project via license transfer. FERC denied both the requests stating that not only had the request come in several years after the decision was made but also that Essex had failed to establish any standing to request for a halt in dam removal.

Read this related article on the Kennebec Journal and this related blog.