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Why You Must Attend The FERC Meeting

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Why You Must Attend The FERC Meeting

If you own a home or lot on Lake Martin, or like to boat or fish or play on or around Lake Martin, or live in a hundred mile radius, or; if you ever hope to own a home or lot on Lake Martin, if you ever hope to fish or boat or play on or around there, or if you ever hope to live within a hundred miles, or if you love or know someone who does or hopes to do these things, then you must attend this FERC meeting.


By now, I hope you have heard about the water level meeting with FERC on Wednesday, July 17, 2013, at CACC. FERC is about to make a decision that impacts Lake Martin for the next 40 years.

If not, here are the details:

When: Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM


Central Alabama Community College, Betty Carol Graham Technology Center
1675 Cherokee Road
Alexander City, AL 35010


FERC has denied Alabama Power’s request to keep Lake Martin’s winter water level higher (three feet higher to be exact). FERC has also denied Alabama Power’s request for a conditional longer full pool season, into October.


The relicensing process only happens once every 35 or 40 years. This is huge. If you need more opinions on the meeting, see below for more reading.  But let me cover a few objections you might have about going to the meeting:

1. “The fatcats and corporate bigwigs control everything anyway. People like me don’t matter.” Incorrect. I would disagree with that assumption altogether, but consider for a minute – even if “they” control everything else, they obviously don’t control FERC on this issue. It should be obvious, because every person, rich or poor, and every business, from this humble 2 person real estate brokerage to AL Power itself, have lobbied for the higher winter water level and extended full pool season – and have been denied. If this mysterious “they” of which you speak controlled everything there would not be a need for this meeting.

2. “I’m not going to speak at the meeting, so why should I come?” A valid point, but we don’t need you there to make a rousing, Jimmy Stewert-esque public speech. WE NEED YOUR BODY there to show FERC that there are many, many stakeholders, many people that care about this issues and its possible impact over the next half century on our community. In FERC’s response, the Draft EIS, they were quoted as saying  that some if these issues would only benefit shoreline property owners. Even as an agent who sells waterfront real estate, I think this is a tremendously “tip of the iceberg” approach to see the lake’s impact on the community’s economic life. Seeing people there, looking them in the face, should make an impact.

3. “Someone else will go. I don’t need to go.” Really? You may have a classic case of apathy. Can you imagine if everyone shared this thought? The place would empty. FERC would look around and ask justly, “so…… where are all these stakeholders, again?” They have been reading (and ignoring) the reams of data in AL Power’s application that talk about the huge amount of people, businesses, and environment that Lake Martin impacts. If we all have the “someone else” mentality – then we don’t deserve this potentially positive seismic change to our area.

4. “I have church on Wednesday nights.” This is actually a pretty good excuse on its face. I am certainly no theologian, but if you look closely in the Bible, I don’t think you will find any scripture that says your or your family’s salvation hinges on not going to church on July 17, 2013. Read the book of Romans and know that it will be OK if you skip this Wednesday.

5. “I live out of town.”  I hear you. But consider this – let’s say you have just arrived at home from a vacation at Lake Martin. Just as your tires hit the driveway, you realize that you left the iron on – or the kitchen sink running – or the gas grill running – and you couldn’t call a friend to go by and fix it. Wouldn’t you turn right around and go back? Wouldn’t you immediately handle this emergency, even though it inconvenienced you?  THIS IS AN EMERGENCY. FERC is making a decision that will affect everyone for the next 40 years. Yes, the meeting will run to 9:30. If you have a lake place, just go sleep there. Would spending a random Wednesday night at the lake be so terrible? Just get up early and drive to work Thursday morning. Buck up.

Now that we have that covered, I will see you there!!

Further Reading On Lake Martin Relicensing and FERC’s Refusal

For more reading on the subject, and why it’s so important to show up to this meeting, see these resources:

Alabama Power  – this is a link to their official website about the relicensing process.

Our Lake At Stake – an article in July’s Lake Magazine that interviews various people (me included) about the potential impact of a higher winter level and an extended full pool season.

LMRA Responds To Regulatory Concerns – Steve Forehand lays out the issues, and then highlights the economic impact of Lake Martin. A must read – especially when he says things like: “This creates the appearance that the Corps has determined that Atlanta’s needs are more important than downstream users’ needs and that the Corps is willing to sacrifice Lake Martin to protect Atlanta.”  I know Steve to be in possession of a very rational, well studied, and bright legal mind. Sure, that is strong language on his part. But read his article and decide for yourself if he was exaggerating. I for one do not think so.

Lake Martin HOBOs this is the Lake Martin Homeowners and Boat Owners association. They are a great resource, and have tons of links to PDF copies of the original FERC documents, etc. If you are a person that likes to read original sources, this site is for you.

LMRA stands for the Lake Martin Resource Association – the oldest advocacy group on Lake Martin, I think.

Stakeholders Mobilize For FERC – Another very good article from the Alexander City Outlook. It lays out the issues again and the potential impact.

Lake Stakeholders oppose FERC’s Refusal – this is an older article from the Outlook, written back in June.