American Rivers Reaches Agreement in the Catawba-Wateree Relicensing

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Coalition member American Rivers has reached a settlement agreement with Duke Energy and other stakeholders as part of the license renewal for the Catawba-Wateree project in North Carolina.

The agreement ends a five-year legal stalemate over the issuance of a state water quality permit needed for Duke’s new operating license for the Catawba-Wateree hydroelectric project.

According to American Rivers, “The Catawba-Wateree settlement requires Duke Energy to release enough water from the dams to benefit endangered sturgeon. The fish, found in 76 miles of the Wateree River, need certain flows at specific times of the year to aid in their spawning. The settlement also safeguards natural flooding of the 91,000 acre Wateree River floodplain including part of the Congaree National Park, which harbors one of the nation’s most significant bottomland forests.”

Per the agreement, Duke Energy will halt their legal appeal as well as administrative challenge to the water quality certification for the new license. This will open the path for license issuance by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Catawba-Wateree hydroelectric project consists of 11 hydropower dams that span from the North Carolina foothills to the Wateree Lake in South Carolina.