A proposal to build a new dam on the Penobscot river in Maine, US, has been rejected by the Federal Energy Regulatory Authority (FERC) it was announced in mid-April.
Bangor Hydro-Electric has been seeking permission to build the new dam for several years and first submitted an application to FERC in 1990. The company claimed the dam was needed to meet electricity demand in the region.
There are currently 12 dams on the Penobscot river and its main branch and construction of the Basin Mills dam had been opposed by groups including the Penobscot indians, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Opponents argued that the dam would be the ‘death knell’ for the Atlantic salmon; the salmon have largely disappeared from the Penobscot river, which once had one of the largest salmon runs in the Northeast US. Opponents also argued that the project would provide power at higher than market rates, and would provide no significant benefit to the local economy.