Stop Okanogan PUD from Electrifying Enloe Dam in Okanogan County, WA
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Dear Legislators and OPUD Commissioners,
Citizen-Ratepayers do not support legislation to extend the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) deadline for the Okanogan PUD (OPUD) to commence construction or finish construction in re-energizing Enloe Dam as it's opposed by many of the citizens-ratepayers of Okanogan County, WA, but they do support removing Enloe Dam because:
(1) The Enloe project doesn’t make sense economically, and is a poor deal for ratepayers. The OPUD has invested over $14.3 million (sunk costs) in the project since 2008, so far without success. The project is expected to operate with an annual net loss of $1.5-2 million dollars. Ratepayers will be on the hook for at least $45 million or more in borrowing plus interest for 30 years, as well as the debt service from Operations/Maintenance costs being more than revenues for the life of project. These estimates could increase substantially. The OPUD just added another $1.7 million to the sunk costs by agreeing to a Phase 1 contract on April 9, 2018 with the Design-Build contractor, Max J. Kuney Co. of Spokane WA working in partnership with Tetra Tech. Inc. of Bellevue WA. Phase 1 will take 6 months and only accomplish 30% of the design process! How much more will be added to the debt ratepayers will have to cover to finish the remaining 70% of designing, and how long will that take? No permits can be issued for construction until 60% of designing (Phase 1) is completed. We must stop this madness before the OPUD commissioners bury the ratepayers families in perpetual debt for many future generations.
(2) The OPUD is unable to properly manage the project. OPUD has missed important deadlines with FERC and lacks the staff and experience to manage such a project. For this reason OPUD is trying to off-load Enloe project on to a private or third party entity. OPUD has been searching for three years for another power company to design, build, finance, and operate the powerhouse without success. It is now turning to secure a design-build contractor which might put additional risk to ratepayers from cost overruns and change orders.
(3) The district doesn’t need the power: A new power sharing agreement with Douglas PUD will provide 170 MW of additional power to OPUD. This is more than double our current average daily load, and equivalent to the output of almost 38 Enloe Dams. Energy NW states that due to conservation their 27 utilities are shrinking in revenue and that the region does not need new hydropower generation. They turned down the project due to questionable economic value and the OPUD's estimate to construct the project may be underestimated by 40%.
(4) The Similkameen River is not recognized to be a dependable source of year-round power. There is an extensive and available public record which demonstrates the extremes of seasonal flows on the Similkameen, resulting in low flows for 3 seasons of the year. Currently the discharge of the Similkameen River is less than 300 cfs.
(5) The electrification of Enloe Dam needs to be abandoned. Federal agencies need to be allowed to remove the sediment safely behind the dam and remove the obsolete dam structure to restore the impaired ecology of the Similkameen River. OPUD ought to work with agencies to solve the liability issue instead of blocking discussion by refusing to assess the risks with the agencies. Requests of reimbursements and land exchanges to agencies who do not have the authorization to grant those requests is no reason to discontinue discussions to consider dam decommission and ultimately remove OPUD's liability.
(6) The dam at present is a total blockage to the upstream migration of steelhead and salmon. The 340+ miles of habitat upriver of the dam, if accessible, would contribute towards the de-listing of the “threatened” Upper Columbia River summer steelhead.
(7) Both the Lower Similkameen Indian Band and the Colville Confederate Tribes have passed resolutions stating that they want the river returned to its natural state, Enloe Dam not be electrified and removed from the river, and no artificial fish passage provided over Similkameen Falls. [Resolutions sent to legislators and commissioners.]
We urge you to vote against any legislation that extends the hydropower deadlines set by FERC. [This petition to be sent to Sen. Marie Cantwell, Sen. Patty Murray, Rep. Dan Newhouse, and OPUD commissioners.]
Thank you for seriously considering a decision that is in the best interests of the OPUD ratepayers who live in Okanogan County.
Okanogan Citizens for the Removal of Enloe Dam
Today: Stuart Rick is counting on you
Stuart Rick Gillespie needs your help with “Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, Rep. Dan Newhouse, and OPUD Commissioners: Ratepayers and Citizens want Enloe Dam Removed from Similkameen River in Okanogan County, WA”. Join Stuart Rick and 853 supporters today.