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Hydroelectric project would be 'devastating' for Hunter

Mar 21, 2021 6:00 am

Sarah Trafton is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media a proposed federal hydroelectric project could have a devastating impact on the town of Hunter, officials said Fri., Mar. 19. The 800-megawatt hydroelectric project, proposed by Premium Energy Holdings, of California, would begin with a two-year feasibility study in which three locations, including Stony Creek in Lanesville, would be examined as potential sites for a reservoir. The plan calls for the Ashokan Reservoir water and its existing dam to be used as a lower reservoir in a pumped storage power plant facility. An upper reservoir would be constructed at the Wittenberg Stream at the end of Moonhaw Road in West Shokan, the Woodland Valley in Shandaken or Stoney Clove in Hunter. The reservoir proposed for Stony Clove in Lanesville is essentially on top of homes, right on top of the post office and on top of Route 214. The dam proposed for Hunter would be 212 feet high and the surface area of the reservoir would encompass 245 acres with a capacity of 22,496 acre-foot, which is the amount of water needed to cover one acre to the depth of one foot, according to the application. The preliminary permit application for the project is currently before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Residents are able to submit comments on the proposal until April 12. Local officials only learned of the project within the past couple of days. “The only thing I’ve heard about it is bad,” Greene County Legislator Larry Gardner said Friday. “They want to use a portion of the town of Hunter to help create energy that will be shipped far away. It’s not a good idea. ...We have a lot to learn in a very short time so we can block it.” The power would be transmitted to Ohioville in Ulster County, or to Roseton in Orange County through existing Central Hudson lines. “I don’t see how that would be feasible to even reroute 214,” Hunter Town Supervisor Daryl Legg said. “That’s one of our major ways in and out of the mountaintop. I honestly don’t believe the federal government would put much stock in damming up and flooding Lanesville, but they did it back when they made the reservoirs for the city.” Legg said the topic will likely be discussed at the town board meeting March 23. State Sen. Michelle Hinchey expressed her opposition to the project Friday. “While we support the move toward more sustainable and renewable energy sources, this project runs counter to our stewardship efforts and would put our environment and our drinking water at risk. We will do everything we can to make sure that this project does not come to fruition,” Hinchey said. Assemblymember Chris Tague, said he is aware of the project and pledged to support the interests of Hunter. To submit a comment about the application, visit ferconline [dot] ferc [dot] gov [slash] QuickComment [dot] aspx A link is available on the WGXC Newsroom page. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.

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