February 29, 2012
Grant County’s controversial salmon rearing project
on the pristine White River above Lake Wenatchee was rejected earlier this month by the Chelan County Hearing
Examiner for violating a number of county codes. But Grant PUD is pushing ahead, defying local regulations by
seeking federal authority to build the project.
Grant PUD purchased the White River
shoreline land several years ago hoping to raise endangered salmon in order to offset fish losses at the
PUD’s dams, as required by the federal government.
But Chelan County planners raised
a number of concerns about the project violating county regulations, and Hearing Examiner Andrew Kottkamp denied
the PUD’s permits.
Now the PUD is looking to go over the county’s head,
appealing directly to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to move forward with the White River
That has Chelan County Natural Resource Director Mike Kaputa concerned that the
public will be cut out of the process.
But the Grant County PUD says they are up against a
time crunch to get the White River salmon project built this summer, as required under their federal operating
To talk more about the project and why Grant PUD is seeking the go ahead from
federal officials instead of working with local entities, KOHO’s Isaac Kaplan-Woolner called Grant
PUD’s Director of Natural Resources Jeff Grizzel.
Grant PUD hopes to have a response
from FERC within 30 days, but it could take three months or more. Grizzel said if a lawsuit seeking an injunction
against the project were filed, it could further slow the White River salmon rearing project, but it is unknown at
this time if that will happen.