Over the years, St Anthony Falls has been a spiritual place for Native Americans, a tourist attraction known for its beauty, and a source of power. In successfully revitalizing the historic riverfront, Minneapolis strove to reach a delicate balance between power production and maintaining the beauty of the flow of water over the Falls. Recently, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asked for comments on its Draft Environmental Assessment for Crown Hydro’s proposed hydroelectric project at the Corps of Engineers’ Lock at the Upper Saint Anthony Falls. Under the proposal, Crown will install a new powerhouse at the upper end of the lock. Water utilized by the powerhouse will be diverted away from the Falls and discharged past the Falls via a new underground tunnel dug under the Stone Arch Bridge.
Organizations reviewing the Environmental Assessment have expressed concerns over adverse impacts to cultural and historic resources within the proposed construction site. The need to divert water for operations has the potential to significantly lower the water at the Falls, impacting the historic view. Preserve Minneapolis joins these groups in advocating for a more comprehensive study of the impacts to the area through an Environmental Impact Statement to find a balance between power generation and the preservation of the Falls. If you are interested would like to get involved or want to read more about the proposed project we invite you to contact the Friends of the Lock and Dam group.
Their comments can be found at: http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20161020-5145
Their intervention and protest can be found at: http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20161011-5286
author: Stephanie Rouse