Ohio Dam Project Blocked By Activists and State EPA

Published September 1, 2009

Environmental activists calling for emissions-free electricity generation nevertheless have blocked a hydroelectric dam proposed for the Cuyahoga River in Ohio.

The dam, which would have included green technologies such as fish-migration assistance, would have replaced an older dam that does not have such technology. Environmental activists, however, argued the older dam, built in 1912, should be torn down without any replacement, regardless of whether green technologies would be employed.

More than a dozen environmental activist groups, plus Summit County Metro Parks and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, opposed the dam.

“Metro Parks Serving Summit County has chosen to block our efforts—not even allowing us to conduct the environmental studies which would have demonstrated the benign nature of this project,” Metro Hydroelectric Company spokesman M. Clifford Phillips wrote in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“One is left to question why the Metro Parks, which promotes living ‘green’ to all who will listen, would not support a green-energy project,” Phillips added.

Ohio is among the nation’s leaders in coal-powered electricity generation. Nearly 90 percent of the state’s electricity is generated from coal, versus 50 percent for the nation as a whole.

With significantly less wind and solar power potential there than in most other states, hydropower offers one of the few realistic means of generating low-emissions or emissions-free electricity in Ohio.

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is a senior fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.