Eel deal is also good for dams and tourists

Allegheny Energy Supply will share dam maintenance costs with the U.S. Department of the Interior and fund environmental and edu

Allegheny Energy Supply will share dam maintenance costs with the U.S. Department of the Interior and fund environmental and edu

July 17, 2002|by ANDREA ROWLAND

CLEAR SPRING - Eels, tourists and historic dams will benefit from an agreement signed Tuesday between the U.S. Department of the Interior and Allegheny Energy Supply, a subsidiary of Allegheny Energy Inc.

In return for renewed permission to use Potomac River Dams No. 4 and No. 5 to generate electricity, Allegheny will share annual dam maintenance costs and fund environmental and educational projects in the area, said Allegheny Spokeswoman Janice D. Lantz.

"We intend to be good corporate stewards of the resources we use," David Benson, Allegheny Energy Supply's vice president of production and sales, said Tuesday during a gathering of Allegheny, National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials at Dam No. 5 on the Potomac River south of Clear Spring.


They met near the dam to announce an agreement reached after about three years of negotiations.

The eight-year agreement is part of Allegheny Energy Supply's efforts to relicense two of the company's hydroelectric generating facilities - the Dam No. 4 facility on the southern shore of the Potomac River about four miles northwest of Shepherdstown, W.Va., and the Dam No. 5 facility on the shore about five miles northeast of Hedgesville, W.Va., Lantz said.

The current licenses with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission expire Dec. 31, 2003, she said.

Agreement highlights include:

  • Allegheny and the NPS will split the estimated $98,000 annual cost of maintaining and repairing the historic dams. Engineers from the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Co. built Dams No. 4 and No. 5 between 1832 and 1835.

  • Allegheny will pay nearly $196,000 to cover dam maintenance costs incurred since 1998, when the company's last agreement with the federal government expired.

  • Allegheny will pay $150,000 for the construction of two "eelways." The ramp-like structures will be attached to Dams No. 4 and No. 5 to enable more American eels to swim upstream.

  • Allegheny will provide $85,000 to fund a fish study in the areas adjacent to the dams.

  • Allegheny will provide $7,000 for educational signs that describe how hydropower is produced, dams preserved and aquatic life managed in a recreational area.

  • Allegheny will give about $34,000 to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park to help cover the costs of recreational studies in the areas of Dams No. 4 and No. 5. Visitor surveys will be handed out starting today, Park Superintendent Doug Faris said.

"We're thrilled with our new partnership with Allegheny Energy," he said. The power company has "partnered with the federal government to preserve natural resources and enhance the aquatic life of the Potomac."

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