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Hook Canyon Hydropower Project, UT

STATUS: Canceled

TYPE: Hydropower

OPPOSITION: Utah Governor Jon Huntsman; Environmentalists (Bear Lake Watch, Great Salt Lakekeeper)

PROSPECTS: Canceled

BACKGROUND: In 2006, Symbiotics affiliate Hook Canyon Energy LLC proposed the 1,100-megawatt Hook Canyon pump project in Bear Lake Canyon, Utah.

There was huge public opposition to the project, citing the project as expensive, inefficient and environmentally unsound. There have been concerns that the energy required to pump water would exceed the energy output of the project. EPA was concerned that construction and facility operation would significantly impact environmental resources such as the aquatic ecosystem of Fish Creek and Bear Lake. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources was concerned about the potential harmful effects on fish species.

In April 2008, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) put the project on hold  after the Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation sent a letter refusing to provide the easement allowing the project to be built on the lake bed. The state agency’s letter followed Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.’s announcement of opposition to the project. While FERC grants licenses for hydro projects, state permission must be granted to construct a project on state property. At the time, Symbiotics spokesman Justin Barker said he did not expect the state parks to enter into negotiations after the governor had stated otherwise.

In April 2008, FERC suspended the project and Symbiotics surrendered its permit after the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation said it would not negotiate with the developer to supply an easement across state park property for Hook Canyon, thwarting plans to build it.

SOURCES: Hydro Reform Coalition:  http://www.hydroreform.org/news/2006/11/03/ferc-issues-preliminary-permit-for-hook-canyon-pumped-storage-project;
http://www.hydroreform.org/news/2008/04/07/huge-opposition-to-bear-lake-pumped-storage-project;
Herald Journal News: http://news.hjnews.com/news/article_19a83133-8fbf-57e4-8f43-e05956c4a0fb.html;
Desert News: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/695272137/Fight-brewing-over-Bear-Lake-project.html;
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/695275215/Feds-suspend-Bear-Lake-power-plant-proposal.html

Last updated December 1, 2010