Hydroelectric dams come with environmental responsibilities

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MONTPELIER, VT. >> Vermont lawmakers awaiting a report on whether the state should purchase hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut and Deerfield rivers are finding out that the dams' next owners will be under pressure to address environmental concerns.

Vermont Public Radio reports that power produced by hydroelectric dams is renewable energy. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's environmentally-friendly.

Andrew Fisk, executive director of the Connecticut River Watershed Council, says dam owners have unleased torrents when market prices are up and have restricted flow when they decrease. That's created water level fluctuation that causes erosion.

Five of the 13 dams up for sale need their licenses renewed soon and Fisk expects the process to demand more responsible river flows.

A seven-person panel was recently appointed by elected officials to vet the purchase.

Information from: WVPS-FM, http://www.vpr.net


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