ELLSWORTH — The announcement by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that it was ready to begin consideration of the application by Brookfield Assets Management, Inc. to relicense its Union River hydroelectric power facility in Ellsworth is generating plenty of interest.
Early last month, FERC set an April 9 deadline for interested parties to formally intervene in the Toronto-based company’s efforts to relicense the dams at Leonard Lake and Graham Lake for 30 years.
In response, a Feb. 21 meeting to review the annual report of the Union River Fishery Coordinating Committee, largely prepared by representatives of Black Bear Hydro Partners LLC, owned by Brookfield, drew unusually heavy attendance and calls by property owners along Graham Lake for the city to participate formally in the licensing proceedings.
As of Tuesday morning, the Ellsworth councilors had yet to act, but at least three individuals had filed the necessary petitions with the agency.
The most recent is Augusta resident Douglas H. Watts who describes himself as a longtime resident of Maine who, since 1982 has used the waters of Graham Lake and the Union River “for angling, boating, swimming, photography, scientific study and other aesthetic, recreational and professional purposes.”
Also seeking permission to intervene are Robert P. Miller of Ellsworth, who owns property on Graham Lake, and Mark C. Whiting, also of Ellsworth. According to his Motion to Intervene, Whiting is a member of the board of the Union Salmon Association, chairman of the board of the Hancock County Soil & Water Conservation District and a longtime participant in “fishery management committee meetings, public informational meetings, and FERC hearings on this project.”