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Potter Valley Project Relicensing News

Potter Valley Project Re-Licensing Begins: Please Consider Submitting Comments By August 4th

On April 6, 2017, pursuant to 18 C.F.R. §§ 5.5 and 5.6, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) e-filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) a Notice of Intent (NOI) and Pre-Application Document (PAD) in support of its intent to file an application for a new license for the Potter Valley Project, FERC Project No. 77.

All interested parties can access and download the NOI and PAD from PG&E's public website: www.pge.com/pottervalley or the FERC website: https://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp. On June 1, 2017 (FERC) issued a notice and Scoping Document 1 for the relicensing of the Potter Valley Project. FERC is currently soliciting comments on the scoping document and the pre-application document in a public comment period that will be ending on August 4, 2017.

It is important that those who live in the Russian River watershed that benefit from the water supply that is diverted as part of the Potter Valley Project understand how important that this relicensing process is. Those in opposition to the continuation of the Potter Valley Project have already been vocal in expressing their desire to remove Scott Dam and Lake Pillsbury and ultimately decommission the project.

MCFB submitted oral comments on the support for the relicensing process at the FERC public scoping meetings in June and we will be submitting written comments on the documents listed above. MCFB encourages our members to consider submitting comments to FERC to support the relicensing of the Potter Valley Project. To assist in this process, MCFB has drafted a sample letter (attached) that can be used as the basis for comments and can be amended to include personal statements if desired. This letter can be copied and pasted into the online submittal form (see instructions below) or it can be printed out and mailed to the address below. All comments need to be submitted by August 4th.

Any individual who is interested in submitting comments by the August 4th deadline can do so by filing comments using FERC's online system using the steps below

  1. Brief comments (up to 6,000 characters including spaces) can be submitted without prior registration, using the eComment system at https://ferconline.ferc.gov/QuickComment.aspx
  2. Click on the link in step #1 and enter your contact information and then retype the text that is in the black box (shows you are human and not a computer) and then click the AUTHORIZE button
  3. A confirmation email from FERC will be sent to the email address that you entered in step #2.
  4. Click on the link provided in the confirmation email and you will be returned to the online form for submitting comments. Your personal information will be automatically filled in at this point.
  5. Below your personal information there will be a box to search for the FERC docket number. Please enter P-77-285 as the docket # in the search field, click search and then the docket # . This should bring up the PG& E NOI/PAD for the Potter Valley Project.
  6. You can submit your own comments in the text box or you can copy and paste the letter template provided from Farm Bureau. If you use the template, you will have to adjust the spacing between paragraphs when you copy it over and make sure to add the date and your name in the text. There is a character count box at the bottom of the page, so you can submit up to 6000 characters in the letter.
  7. Once you finalize your comments, you can select the submit comment box at the bottom and your comments will be submitted.
  8. Please note, that there is a "time out" function on the website, so if you receive an error message when you submit the comments you may have been inactive on the website for too long. If this happened, please go back to the email link you received in step #3 and resubmit comments.
  9. Once your comments are successfully submitted, you will receive an additional email from FERC notifying you that your comments were successfully submitted.

In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket number P-77-285.

If there are any questions, or if you need assistance to submit comments, please contact the Farm Bureau office.

Thank you,

Devon Jones
Executive Director
Mendocino County Farm Bureau

Below is a sample letter to get you started. (WORD format here)

DATE

Kimberly D. Bose,
Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE, Washington,
D.C. 20426.

RE: Potter Valley Project (P-77-285)

Dear Secretary Bose,

I am writing in support of the continuation of the operation of the PG&E Hydroelectric facilities known as the Potter Valley Project (Project) which is in the beginning phases of a FERC relicensing process.

The Project is important for local power and water supply in Mendocino County. The water diverted through the Project is used for agricultural, domestic, municipal, industrial and recreational purposes in the areas of Potter Valley, Redwood Valley, Calpella, Talmage, Ukiah, Hopland and south to the county line. Water from the Project that is stored in Lake Mendocino provides the water supply for thousands of people in the Russian River watershed as well as mandated water releases for ESA listed salmonid species.

The development of water resources through the Project and Lake Mendocino have allowed for the creation of a substantial agricultural economy in Mendocino County. The economic value of water stored in Lake Mendocino that is used for farming and ranching within the Russian River basin in Mendocino County was calculated by Dr. Robert Eyler (January 2016; submitted to FERC) to be over $740 million dollars per year. Impacts to the agricultural industry that benefit from Project water, from the powerhouse to the confluence at Dry Creek, needs to be fully vetted in any alternative that is considered during this re-licensing process.

Reductions in flows at the Project that may be considered in any alternative for this re-licensing process need to accurately assess the impacts to water right holders in the Russian River watershed. As a result of the last license amendment process, described in the FERC Final Order in 2004, the diverted flows at the project were significantly reduced. The cumulative impacts from this previous flow reduction and any proposed future flow reductions on the hundreds of water right holders in the Russian River watershed deserves full analysis.

The continued operation of the Project is critical to a large number of Mendocino County residents, their families, their businesses and their communities. For this reason, FERC is encouraged to fully consider the impacts to those who benefit from the power and water provided by the Project in the Russian River Watershed during the scoping process, Environmental Impact Statement development and recommended actions related to the relicensing of the Potter Valley Project (P-77-285).

Sincerely,

NAME