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Environment and Outdoors

Owner Of Kennebec River Dams Sues State Over Proposed Changes That Could Lead To Their Removal

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NOAA
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The owner of four dams along the Kennebec River is suing Maine's Department of Marine Resources over proposed changes that could lead to the dams being removed.

The lawsuit, from a U.S. Subsidiary of Brookfield Renewable, is challenging a proposed amendment to the state's river management plan, which would recommend stricter fish passage requirements. That amendment recommends the removal of two dams — and a study of the proposed removal of two other dams — from Waterville to Skowhegan.

But Miranda Kessel, with Brookfield Renewable, says the DMR doesn't have the authority to make those changes and didn't seek adequate input from other entities.

"There are a number of ways that due process, and ways that the Department of Marine Resources acted outside of its statutory authority," she says.

Kessel says the company is asking the court to halt the plan in its current form, saying the DMR did not seek enough input from other agencies and didn't "meaningfully" consider the economic and social impacts of dam removal.

A spokesperson for Gov. Janet Mills and the DMR did not respond to a request for comment.