(Ephrata, WA) Grant PUD received good news from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on April 18. FERC approved the utility’s plan to protect the shorelines of Priest Rapids and Wanapum dam reservoirs and supports the PUD’s plan to transition Crescent Bar to full public use.
In their order, FERC Commissioners stated, “The proposed Shoreline Management Plan is in the public interest because it comprehensively manages the project shoreline in a manner that protects environmental and public recreation resources, preserves historic and cultural resources, and protects scenic quality and aesthetic resources.”
“We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” said Commission President, Terry Brewer. “FERC gave us a very positive analysis on the proposal we made to improve the shorelines and increase public recreation and we couldn’t be more pleased.”
Included in FERC’s order was their approval of the PUD’s proposed classification for land use along the reservoir shoreline, which includes Crescent Bar Island. In the order, FERC Commissioners noted, “We recognize that Grant PUD’s proposal is contrary to the desires of the Crescent Bar Island leaseholders, many of whom view their leasehold interests as much more than a temporary property interest. However, Grant PUD’s proposal, a matter within its sole discretion, not to extend the lease on its lands was made for its own business and public policy reasons as well as to be consistent with its license obligations, and is consistent with the Federal Power Act, Commission regulations and Commission precedent.”
Grant PUD, the Port of Quincy and Crescent Bar islanders are still engaged in litigation over the PUD’s ability to return the island to full public use for the benefit of the recreating public.
“Though the next steps in the lawsuit are still being determined, FERC’s approval of our shoreline management plan is definitely a step in the right direction,” said Brewer. “We look forward to the day all members of the public can recreate anywhere along shorelines within our control.”
Grant PUD’s Shoreline Management Plan is posted online here: http://www.grantpud.org/environment/shoreline-management/priest-rapids-project-license
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s order is posted online here: