ESAinfo Report: Hydro-Power Plants Attacked by our own US Fed and State Agencies

August 03, 2003

ESAinfo is again discovering the startling reality in the ongoing ruin of electric power production in the United States. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Notice below came last week as a wakeup call to those interested in helping save power production facilities (please read below) in this country. Like General Custer’s last stand, Portland General Electric is finally “raising the white flag” with regard to closure of the Bull Run Power Plant in Oregon State. Federal and state regulators there have worked to close the plant.

What is happening:
Many of our historic hydro-power plants are not being relicensed through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) due to the pile-on of more and more onerous Federal and State fish protection regulations. After construction, and if allowed to operate with few regulations, hydro-power is virtually free (at one half a cent per KWH), federal and state agencies are now imposing such onerous regulations that many power companies can not justify the required investment anymore. “The power plant simply does not pencil out”, as Craig P. Johnson of Pacificorp told ESAinfo earlier this year about closing of the Naches Power Power Facility on the Naches River in Yakima County, WA. The interesting parody is that these regulations were conjured up, and are now being dictated, at a time when there are historic levels of salmon returning to our nation’s rivers in the northwestern United States.

The Bull Run Story:
The latest story in the growing list of hydro-dam fatalities is the Bull Run Power Plant in Oregon. The plant produces 22 Megawatts of electricity 24/7 (significant power production which could be increased with new high-tech turbines), but due to mounting regulations being dictated by two federal agencies and one state agency, the power plant and its two upstream dams (the Marmot and Little Sandy River Dams) are being scheduled for removal. Culprit agencies destroying this American power facility using federal laws such as the NW Power Act and the Endangered Species Act are:
1. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration or NOAA (formerly known as the National Marine Fisheries Service or NMFS)
2. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
3. The Oregon State Fish and Wildlife Service (ODFW).

These sorts of policy/regulations are of huge concern/consequence since similar extreme regulations could actually halt the production of automobiles in this country. We believe our Forefathers would have liked us to maintain and operate the hydro-power plants that they constructed and paid for, at least until other forms of power production become available. As Mr. Al Caruba says, “a country that removes its own power facilities will not stand”.

July 25, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 143)] Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of Availability:

Responsible Agency: Office of Federal Activities, General
Information (202) 564-7167 or

Weekly receipt of Environmental Impact Statements
Filed July 14, 2003 Through July 18, 2003
Pursuant to 40 CFR 1506.9.

EIS No. 030338, Draft EIS, FRC, OR, Bull Run Hydroelectric Project
(FERC No.477-024), Proposal to Decommission Bull Run Project, and
Remove Facilities Project, Including Marmot Dam, Little Sandy Diversion
Dam and Roslyn Lake, Application to Surrender its License), Sandy,
Little Sandy, Bull Run Rivers, Town of Sandy, Clackamas County, MS,
Comment Period Ends: September 8, 2003, Contact: Alan Mitchnick (202)
502-6074. This document is available on the Internet at:
If you know of any spending on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to the salmon/trout species in the NW and northern California on public or private projects (even $1.00), please submit your ESA Cost Data stories at (or review other stories)

Please Forward!!

Gary Wiggins, PE
Mesa, AZ (previously Snohomish, WA)
Cell 425-750-9894

Craig P. Johnson's testimony:


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