Dec 25, 2015 1:46 PM

Lebanon kayakers concerned about proposal to dam Mascoma River for electricity

LEBANON — A proposal by a Boston-based hydropower company to use dams to generate electricity along the Mascoma River is being opposed by kayakers and others who use the river for recreation.

According to the Valley News, Grafton Hydro LLC filed for a preliminary permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this fall to examine the feasibility of generating power using the existing Mascoma Lake Dam and a proposed dam for behind the Mascoma Village Apartments downtown.

Five boating groups filed on Dec. 18 to intervene in the pending petition, saying the new dam would effectively eliminate paddling in the area. Other parties, including the city of Lebanon and the Connecticut River Watershed Council, also have notified FERC that they are seeking intervenor status.

The section of the river that runs through Lebanon's downtown includes more difficult Class IV and V rapids, which are important to Dartmouth College's Ledyard Canoe Club and advanced paddlers in the broader community.

Meanwhile, city officials are concerned that changes to the river could affect the city’s water users by altering flows to the water treatment facility.

Thomas Tarpey, the managing member of Grafton Hydro, said he had not yet reviewed the boating groups’ petition, which if granted would allow the groups to participate in the FERC review of Grafton Hydro’s preliminary permit.

The company's application can be viewed on the FERC website.

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