Wrangell City Hall

Wrangell assembly members are voicing their opinions regarding a recent action against Cascade Creek LLC.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied a permit request last month from the private company that wants to develop the controversial hydro-electric plant on Swan Lake near Petersburg. Cascade Creek asked for a rehearing early this year after FERC denied the company’s bid for a third preliminary permit.

The company already had held two permits of the same type and had a total of six years with priority rights to draft and submit an application for the creation of a hydro plant.

Wrangell officials invested $250,000 in Cascade Creek a few years ago in exchange for a guarantee of 1 percent of the project’s power for 25 years after it went online. Assembly Member Bill Privett says he was never a fan of the project in the first place.

“It’s obvious to me, that through the years they have not complied with the regulatory requirements from day one. And I think we need step back and away from them. And I don’t have a problem with them not getting another license to hold up another dam for speculative reasons, which is what that whole program was about. Whether we’ll ever see our $250,000, I seriously doubt it. But that’s another story for another day and it’s done and it’s over with. We need to move forward with that,” he said.

Assembly Member James Stough (stow) says it’s too bad the project has had so many issues because the hydro plant would have been good for Southeast Alaska and mentioned perhaps pursuing another entity. Member Pam McCloskey says she would like to see a project through the state.

“If something to move forward, I’d like it to be something with the state. Not a private entity like this is. And if there’s any way in the world we can get our money back, we need to really pursue it hard,” she said.

Mayor Don McConachie says he doesn’t believe Wrangell will see that money again, but City Manager Tim Rooney says he is investigating the issue and will update the board if he hears anything new. He also mentioned Cascade Creek had not informed the city their permit had been denied last month. Rooney says he learned about the FERC action from the commission itself.

More information about the FERC decision is available here.