As you probably know, Alabama Power is in the middle of the process to relicense Martin Dam. If you’re unfamiliar with this event, click here for more information. For those of you who have been following this process, you might be wondering what’s going on?
When we last left this subject, FERC held a meeting to say they had not approved a new water level rule curve (to determine what months they raise and lower the Lake Martin’s water level, and by how many feet they lower the winter water level). Alabama Power has appealed this decision to FERC and has asked FERC to reconsider the matter. If you’d like to read a copy of Alabama Power’s appeal, click here.
Basically, regarding water levels at Lake Martin, Alabama Power has appealed to FERC with two considerations:
1) Potential for downstream damage is small.
2) Potential for positive economic impact is large.
The way I understand it, FERC is not operating on any set timetable. I could be wrong on this, but I think we could hear back from them in two weeks or six months. We will hear about it when we hear about it.
My personal hope is that they grant Alabama Power’s request for a new rule curve. The new rule curve would only drop the winter level seven feet instead of ten feet, and allow for an optional full pool period extending into the fall. I think Alabama Power has done a great job in proving that there is no additional risk of flooding with a seven foot winter drop. They’ve also done a great job proving that our entire area’s economic potential would be greatly enhanced by having more water in Lake Martin. I remain optimistic that FERC will hear the appeal and make the right decision for the Lake Martin area.
For further reading, LakeMartin.org has assembled links to original documents relating to the FERC relicensing in a helpful way. Click here to see these.
As soon as I hear anything, I’ll let you know.