Susitna-Watana Dam Planning Back On Track

Planning for the proposed Susitna Watana Hydro dam is back on track. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had delayed the project, after finding some of the studies inadequate.  But the agency reversed that decision, after receiving appeals from Governor Sean Parnell, Alaska’s Congressional delegation, and state lawmakers.


In a previous story which aired on Tuesday, January 22nd, KTNA reported that  the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had yielded to pressure from Alaska Governor Sean Parnell and members of the State Legislature to amend its timelines for the Suisitna Watana Hydroelectric Dam study process. KTNA was in error in reporting that FERC rescinded their December 31st judgement that 13 of 58 studies were inadequate.

FERC did not reverse its decision to alter the timeline for issuing a Study Plan Determination, as reported by KTNA. in fact, FERC stood by its December 31 directive to AEA to provide more study details on 13 of the 58 proposed studies.

In a letter dated January 17, FERC reiterated to AEA that the lacking details were -quote – “integral to determining whether the studies would gather the needed information to process AEA’s license application. -” end quote

FERC did change the May 14 Study Plan Determination deadline to April 1, shortening the public comment period.

In the story, which aired on tuesday, january 22nd, the KTNA newsroom also misidentified Jan Konigsberg, who is in fact an independent observer of the Susitna Watana Hydroelectric Project.

Also, the KTNA newsroom used the term “Legislative delegation”, which does not, in fact, mean that senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich , nor representative Don Young have voiced any approval or opposition to the proposed Dam. In the story of January 22nd, KTNA used the term ‘Alaska Delegation’ to mean the senators and representatives of the Alaska State Legislature. KTNA regrets the error.

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Lorien Nettleton is a reporter with KTNA in Talkeetna.

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