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Durbin and Kirk Support City’s Plans to Appeal FERC Decision

WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–February 23, 2011.  U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) today sent at letter to the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Jon Wellinghoff, urging him to carefully review any appeal by the City of Quincy as to the facts surrounding the decision to dismiss the permit application.

“As you can imagine, FERC’s sudden decision has left the City with the impression that the application was not given serious consideration on its merits. We urge your careful review of the application and the facts surrounding it,” wrote the Senators.

“Neither the City nor the applicants were informed that the permit application was under reconsideration despite the fact that they have been in regular contact with the FERC regarding every new development in the project for more than four years. Throughout this period, FERC has never identified the partnership between the City and the corporations as a potential problem. In fact, the City followed FERC’s guidance and encouragement in pursuing its application through the two companies.”

Last week, FERC notified the City of Quincy that the license application and the preliminary permit application for the proposed hydroelectric power plant at Lock and Dam 21 had been dismissed. According to the FERC, the city, the hydropower corporation and Great River Hydropower LLC are barred from filing a preliminary permit or development applications for one year. The city has 30 days to appeal the denial.

[Text of the letter is below]

February 23, 2011

The Honorable Jon Wellinghoff
Chairman
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20426

Dear Chairman Wellinghoff:

It has come to our attention that the permit application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) by Great River Hydropower, LLC and Mississippi River Number 21 Hydropower Company to develop a hydropower project at Mississippi River Lock and Dam No. 21 in the city of Quincy, Illinois, was dismissed without adequate discussion with and notification to the applicants.

On February 17th, 2011, the director of the Office of Energy Projects issued a delegated order stating that the permit applications by the two companies, for-profit entities created by the City of Quincy to manage the project, were dismissed on the grounds that the applicants attempted to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors by claiming a municipal preference in their applications. In addition, the order further prohibited the City and the two companies from reapplying for another permit on lock and dam 21 for one year.

It is our understanding that the City plans to appeal the decision of February 17. If that is the case, we respectfully request your careful reconsideration of this matter.

Neither the City nor the applicants were informed that the permit application was under reconsideration despite the fact that they have been in regular contact with the FERC regarding every new development in the project for more than four years. Throughout this period, FERC has never identified the partnership between the City and the corporations as a potential problem. In fact, the City followed FERC’s guidance and encouragement in pursuing its application through the two companies.

Furthermore, none of the applicants were notified when the dismissal order was released. The Mayor of Quincy was only informed of the order after being contacted by the media with a quote from a competing company with a permit application. Given that the FERC had scheduled an environmental site visit to Quincy on March 8th, local leaders had no reason to expect a decision would be made on February 17. Clearly, they were surprised by the dismissal as were other project supporters, including ourselves.

As you can imagine, FERC’s sudden decision has left the City with the impression that the application was not given serious consideration on its merits. We urge your careful review of the application and the facts surrounding it.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Richard J. Durbin
Mark S. Kirk

Source: durbin.senate.gov

 

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