In a dramatic turn of events Thursday, Chugach Electric announced that it is dropping all plans to pursue building three hydroelectric dams on the Snow River, a tributary of the Kenai.
Early this week the Anchorage utility held public meetings in Anchorage and in Moose Pass, near the proposed dam site, and drew standing-room-only crowds of fishermen opposed to the project.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had issued Chugach a preliminary permit this month, for up to three years of study on the feasibility of the project. While opponents including the founders of the new Peninsula Rivers Conservancy were expecting years of fight over the project, apparently Chugach listened to the outcry and chose not to proceed.
“We’ve heard from many Alaskans who do not want us to study this option, and we appreciate and respond to those voices and concerns,” wrote Chugach CEO Lee Thibert in a statement Thursday.
Beyond loss of the Snow River watershed itself, opponents said the dams would stop critical water flow including the trademark green silt to the Kenai, endangering its legendary salmon and trout fisheries.
Here’s more on this story as reported by KTUU on Thursday: