An appeal of water quality requirements for a hydroelectric facility has boosted membership in the “friends” group for the Green River Reservoir State Park.
Morrisville Water and Light wants to relicense four hydroelectric dams, including the dam that created Green River Reservoir. As part of that review, the state Agency of Natural Resources set new water quality restrictions that the utility has appealed in Vermont Environmental Court.
The power company says it can’t afford to run the dam under the new restrictions, and has threatened to remove it instead.
"Obviously that concerned us because our primary mission is to preserve and enhance the reservoir, not the swamp," says Friends of Green River Reservoir member Michael Wickenden.
Wickenden says the utility's appeal only deals with specific water flows, not dam removal.
"And we thought that we needed to make sure everyone had the right story," he adds. "That was one of the reasons why we thought it was good time to try to get a stronger membership base."
The Friends group has doubled in size since the appeal was filed. The effort has been boosted by letters to the editor in local papers. And the Friends of the Green River Reservoir has just been granted the legal status to participate in the Environmental Court proceedings. Wickenden says the influx in membership fees will help pay for legal costs.