The proposed Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project has not been a central issue to the Denali Citizens Council because it falls somewhat outside of our core area of concern and because we have so many other issues central to our mission to worry about. Nonetheless, the project is enormous and cannot be ignored. If it moves forward it will have some significant spin-off impacts to the Denali Borough and possibly to Denali National Park and Preserve. DCC has called attention to these issues locally and was successful at getting a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) public hearing held in Cantwell back in March.
FERC completed an initial public comment period on the project on May 31, calling particularly for input about what studies are needed to thoroughly evaluate the impacts of the dam. DCC expressed general support for those organizations calling for studies related to the many unknowns about the project – impacts on fish, seismic concerns, sedimentation, true cost, etc. – but focused our comments specifically on those issues related to our mission that were likely to be overlooked by others, including development impacts in the southern Denali Borough, recreational impacts along the Denali Highway and in the southeastern corner of the national park, and possible effects on subsistence. You can read the full text of our comments at this link:
The dam remains a high priority of the state government. To read the state’s description of the project and the planning process, look to the Alaska Energy Authority’s dedicated website:
The Susitna River Coalition based in Talkeetna is the leading organization opposing the dam. Click their name for access to the organization web site.
Finally, if you would like to browse all of the comments submitted to FERC, follow the link below and type “P-14241” in the search field for “Document Number.”
DCC could use a volunteer who would like to follow this project for us. If interested, please call us at 683-3396, or use the contact form at this link.