The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licensing process is a complex one that occurs only every 40 to 50 years. The upcoming relicense of the Brunswick dam is our rare opportunity to express comments about problems and solutions.

Since the dam was constructed numerous environmental problems have been identified, but never solved. The dam imposes a block to fish whose life cycles require passage from fresh water to the ocean and back.

The fish ladder adjacent to the dam has never passed a large percentage of fish that gather each year at the foot of the dam. This is because it was not designed for Atlantic fish. Also, critical details in construction were modified (in a harmful way) after the FERC license was issued.

Equally troubling is the fact that fish trying to head downriver to the ocean often end up in the turbines where they are killed, literally torn to pieces. These defects in design cause drastically reduced fish populations. In the bay this contributed to the collapse of the inshore cod industry, and the lobster industry has fewer baitfish for its traps.

The least expensive way to solve these problems would be to remove the dam, but we still need hydroelectric power. This power is clearly not “green” because it entails environmental and economic damages.

Those damages must be mitigated. That’s what FERC relicensing is for.

At the least, effective methods for fish migration must be devised, and then monitored.

Gregory D’Augustine, Greene

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