CLALLAM: Questions raised over Morse Creek power plant

Peninsula Daily News


PORT ANGELES, WA -- A city plan to restart a small hydroelectric plant on Morse Creek has raised questions about how it might affect salmon and other fish in the stream.

Port Angeles sees restarting the project as a boon because it enables the city to avoid expensive maintenance costs.

But environmentalists like Eloise Kailin, head of Protect the Peninsula's Future, worry that streamflow limits set when the project was licensed in the mid-1980s might not provide enough water to protect threatened fish.

In 1997, Port Angeles was close to closing the plant. With maintenance expenses high and power prices low, the city estimated it would lose $20,000 a year on the project.

The City Council approved giving up the federal license to the dam.

But with electricity costs increasing more than tenfold over the past year, a company that specializes in small hydroelectric operations approached the city about leasing the Morse Creek plant.

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