Federal Law/Rules Effecting Lake Allegan Ken Yonker posted 3 years ago
Members,The Calkin hydro plant is the only Consumer’s Energy owned hydro plant in Michigan that Consumer’s Energy didn’t build. It was built in 1936 by the City of Allegan and bought by Consumer’s Energy in 1968.Consumer’s Energy missed the first 32 years of operation and I feel residents have been subject to the negative effects of this for a long time. This hydro plant runs on a 30 year (2010-2040) Federal/FERC license. Going into the FERC elibrary system and using P-785 (Calkin Hydro plant number) one can see many events happening on Lake Allegan. Information Consumers send to FERC are called submittals and information FERC sends to Consumers Energy are called issuances. Submittal and issuances marked CEII are “Critical Energy Infrastructure Information” and only Consumer’s Energy and FERC can read those. FERC elibrary contains information for decades so there is a lot here. FERC only enforces (license and FPA) rules for the license that is presently in effect. I have found by reading the submissions and issuances, that MORE questions are created than answered. Most of these may be a direct result of Consumer’s Energy missing the first 32 years of Lake Allegan history. Some basic questions still exist for me as 1) why didn’t Consumer’s Energy, the DEQ, and DNR remember this is a U.S. navigable river where the USACE has jurisdiction (construction permits were created incorrectly),2) why do ALL the federally licensed hydro plants in Michigan have downriver safety chain and buoy systems and this one doesn’t, 3)the roads that existed when the Calkin draw bridge was here, where are they now,4) last year Consumer’s Energy received a Federal “violation to license”, are we safe? 5) Consumer’s Energy owns the shoreline almost to the City of Allegan Dam, what does the license say about shoreline renovation? There are many, many more questions. I feel the largest question may be “How badly does the DNR, EGLE want the Calkin Hydro dam to be removed. Do know, the Consumer’s Energy Calkin federal license can be reopened at any time. It’s important to stay involved. Additional note: there is a deed restriction recorded on the Consumer’s Energy Calkin hydro plant property deed (recorded in Allegan County Register of Deeds) that Consumer’s Energy does not even recognize as being in existence. There are many rules not being followed. Some rules and requirements address operation and some construction at this hydro plant.
Members, although not a license requirement by law, the Federal Government (FERC) “highly recommends” that hydro plant owners have quarterly meetings with area residents so that small problems do not become large problems. The only meeting I remember, is a meeting in 2014 where the DNR held a fishing meeting at the Allegan library that Consumer’s Energy also attended. I feel there should be more meetings. I think Valley Township would encourage a meeting quarterly at the township hall during a regularly scheduled township meeting where hydro plant updates could be covered by Consumer’s Energy. I feel we should ask Consumer’s Energy and Valley Township if this is a possibility.Ken Yonker commented 3 years agoI cannot substantuate any of the issues. I can only talk about 50 plus years...it has always been a target/shooting range since I have lived here. "Improvements would be appreciated" but now it is only worse. Noise and rapid fire weapons are not legal or encouraged. I hope they will put personnel to man it, check for licenses to own the guns they are firing.Patricia Miner commented 3 years agoKen,I agree that a meeting should become a routine (at least yearly) so we can keep track of the Dam on Lake Allegan. It will be to late if they decide to change it or remove it. Lake Allegan will once again return to the Kalamazoo River. Valley Township is a good place to start it.Patricia Miner commented 3 years ago2 quick questions -- will removing the Allegan City Dam affect our lake? and, has anyone stepped forward to approach Consumers Energy with the request?Virginia Toepfer commented 3 years agoHello Virginia Toepfer, the City of Allegan Dam, Downtown Allegan, is activity being considered on for removal. Many people believe this will affect our lake. Some people feel Lake Allegan still has a great potential to additionally receive and store toxic chemicals. If it does this, the toxic chemicals will be on top of the lake bottom.....but they feel, at least there would be one less dam on the Kalamazoo River. We must never let down our guard. There are ALSO those who want ALL dams removed on the Kalamazoo River. We would then live on Creek Allegan. As far as Consumer's Energy, I don't feel the Calkin Hydro dam is a money maker any longer. Just the construction work they did last year on the dam was over a million dollars. It will take a long time to even get this construction pay back to be cost effective.Ken Yonker commented 3 years agoI would love to see Consumers hold a community meeting. I think we as a lake association have to demand it.Would you be willing to get on a Zoom call to discuss how we can get Consumers to hold a meeting?Would love a chance also to meet more Lake Allegan neighbors.Coco SoodekCoco Soodek commented 2 years agoDelete my commentHello Coco Soodek, I believe Valley Township is pushing Consumer's Energy for meetings that could be held at the township. Many issues are going on. One being the Allegan Dam Road was closed a few weeks ago at the dam. Few people knew about this, it wasn't on the road commission website. The most important issue, I feel, is that on July 5, 2020 a motorcycle went off the Allegan Dam road and through the fishing pier /platform on the west shore. The Allegan County sheriff responded and wrote up the accident report. Now when Consumer's Energy made their (required) report to the federal government...... Consumer's Energy put the location of the accident on the east/opposite shore, and did this reporting 45 days late. This was the result of a "TIP" being called in to the FERC HOT LINE. We need to put pressure on Consumer's Energy for accurate and on time information reporting!!!!!!!Another BIG area that has not yet been addressed is that there is a Allegan County Permit on how the Calkin Dam must opperate. This permit is IN ADDITION to the federal FERC license. I believe if this permit is brought forward and addressed, it may affect the Echo point shooting range.Ken Yonker commented 2 years agoKen, I really appreciate your response. Do you know what the permit is?Coco Soodek commented 2 years agoDelete my commentAs for the motorcycle accident at the Calkin dam, over the Labor day weekend Consumer's Energy has re-contacted FERC and told them they had the accident site incorrect......the accident happened on the west shore of the river next to the hydro plant not on the opposite shore away from the hydro plant. Now at least they have part of the reporting correct. Coco, today I will send you more information about the Allegan County permit for the construction and operation of the Calkin Hydro plant.Ken Yonker commented 2 years agoHello Coco Soodek,when one goes to the Allegan County Register of Deeds and receives a copy of Liber 4192 Page 348 #2017020773 she/he will have the permit the County of Allegan established for the construction and OPERATION of the Calkin Hydro dam. Many believe that when later the hydro dam received a federal license from FERC (earlier called FPC) that ended the county permit. Actually just the opposite. FERC has told me that a county permit written before a FERC license stands superior to the FERC license. The county permit(reference to) is still stamped on the deeds as a restriction to the lands owned and/or once owned by the hydro plant. The document is eye opening and I don't believe the hydro plant , or anyone else, complies with ANY part of it! This document may have wording that would affect the DNR Echo boat launch/shooting range that is being addressed today.Ken Yonker commented 2 years agoKen, any idea if that permit is available online? If not, I'll go get it.Coco Soodek commented 2 years agoDelete my commentI don't believe the permit is on-line, however I know Valley Township thru Ron Remington has a copy. Calling Valley Township and asking Karen to make a copy or scan it on line is a possibility. Otherwise its about a dollar a sheet and could be obtained at the Allegan County Register of Deeds (if they are presently operating). The permit is about a dozen pages. I also have a copy if other methods are difficult.Ken Yonker commented 2 years agoHow do we get in touch with Consumers Energy and does anyone have a contact. As said earlier many questions and few answers.No longer exists commented 2 years agoHello Mike, I know Valley Township is trying to get Scott Knight from Consumer's Energy to attend Valley township meetings off and on to address citizen questions as to what's happening. Also Allegan County Emergency Manager Scott Corbin would know people from Consumer's Energy that could answer your questions. My self, I would also regularly check FERC elibrary to see what going on. Do an advanced search by googling "FERC general/advanced search", once in the site, type P-785 in the docket box and you'll get the last 30 days(by default) of correspondence between FERC and the Calkin hydro plant. They discuss many items.Change the date field and you can even see MANY years of correspondence. HINT- Check the entries from 7-5-2020 to present and you'll see the Consumer's Energy problems entering accurate information about the motor cycle accident that happened ON THE CALKIN FISHING PLATFORM on July 5, 2020. Good Luck on attempting to get answers for questions!Ken Yonker commented 2 years ago