ELLSWORTH – Two dams are up for relicensing and some people don’t think the company, Brookfield, should be granted a new one.
Residents along the shores of Graham Lake say there are times during the year it turns into a desert.
At a meeting Tuesday night, one resident brought a photo of him pushing a boat where he says there should be water.
“Now the teenagers are on those paddle boards, we ice skate. I could cry thinking about the future, that they might not have that opportunity,” said Diane Perry, a Mariaville resident.
Not only is this upsetting to residents who purchased land on what they said they thought would be a year-round beautiful waterfront, it’s also raising environmental concerns.
“Currently there’s no downstream fish passage, so fish are going through the turbines and there are massive fish kills here,” said Dwayne Shaw, the executive director of the Downeast Salmon Federation. “In fact, there’s one going on right now.”
Currently, Brookfield is allowed to drain the water in Graham Lake by 12 feet.
Shaw says the federal government has said they want that number lowered, and he agrees.
“The prior owners of these dams hadn’t drawn the lake down like this, even though the license allowed for it,” Shaw added. “The owners knew better and unfortunately Brookfield hasn’t been operating that way, and not really a good neighbor.”
D.E.P. officials said the meeting was held by request.
“We’ve been looking at all the information provided by Brookfield as well as provided by other projects,” said Mark Bergeron, a special projects manager for the D.E.P. “We’re working with our state and federal review agencies to help us through that process.”
Bergeron says the D.E.P. will make a final decision in regard to the licenses by March of 2020.