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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about hydrokinetic projects and home schooling.

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Addressing concerns over FERC permitting process

Regarding the March 4 article, "Wave-power permits alarm locals": The article ignored the solid efforts the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has made to ensure that the potential development of new hydrokinetic technologies balances the interests and needs of all stakeholders.

The article claims that the FERC process "feels like a new Klondike gold rush." In reality, FERC addressed this concern more than a year ago when we implemented a "stricter scrutiny" approach requiring preliminary permit holders of hydrokinetic projects to meet specific milestones in order to retain those permits. A preliminary permit only gives the holder priority to study a site. To develop the site, the holder must apply for a license and undergo a rigorous public review process.

FERC also has gone to great lengths to ensure that the process for the development of hydrokinetic projects is a public one. We convened a technical conference in December 2006 that led to the "stricter scrutiny" approach.

We are listening. And we continue to modify our processes as necessary. In July 2007, FERC staff proposed a five-year pilot license process for these new ocean technologies. And in October 2007, I personally led a technical conference in Portland, Ore., to hear from state and federal agencies, fishermen, and all interested parties.

Regarding the March 4 article, "Wave-power permits alarm locals": The article exemplifies one of the difficulties of implementing processes to reduce global warming. One single action is not enough to combat global warming – many actions should be tried. Wave power (hydrokinetics) is one of these actions that should be developed.

An example of the difficulty is the local concern over projects, such as the one on the Mississippi River. It is not easy to tell whether the concerns are for the balanced best interests of all or merely NIMBY arguments.


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