C.U.R.B Trip Report To U.S. Capitol – 25 October 2011

posted Oct 29, 2011, 9:27 AM by Site administrator   [ updated Oct 30, 2011, 8:40 AM ]
Most rode the bus, several flew, a couple rode the train and a few drove; but all 50 of us arrived in Washington DC and gathered in Room H-137 of the U.S. Capitol.  We had representatives from Grand Lake Oklahoma, Claytor Lake Virginia, and Leesville and Smith Mountain Lakes Virginia. After introductions and a brief overview of what to expect, we began to meet with members of Congress and their staffs.

Back on October 20th Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt of Missouri introduced legislation, Senate Bill S.1758[i] to amend the Federal Power Act to prohibit the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from requiring the removal or modification of existing structures or encroachments in licenses of the Commission.

First up was Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler from Missouri’s 4th Congressional District, which includes Lake of the Ozarks.  Just the day before our visit, Congresswoman Hartzler introduced H.R. 3244, aka The Landowner Protection Act of 2011.[ii]  This legislation was initiated by FERC's demand that the power company that operates the project at Lake of the Ozarks (a 55,000 acre, 1,150 mile shoreline, 75 year old lake in Central Missouri) that all existing non-conforming structures-4000 total, including homes, gazebos, and docks-be identified and "removed in a timely manner".  This bill is intended to prevent what we believe is an uncompensated taking of private property by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) through its convoluted Shoreline Management Plan regulations.  The Congresswoman was inspiring, and her passion showed as she spoke out against the over reach of FERC.

Congressman Robert Hurt (also a sponsor of H.R. 3244) joined us to express his support and to discuss the impact of unnecessary regulations on job creation in the 5th District of Virginia.  Robert Hurt has been engaged with us in our fight for reasonable regulation of the shoreline at Smith Mountain Lake since he was elected.  He rhetorically asked how anyone can believe that bureaucrats in Washington D.C. know better how to regulate our communities than those of us who built it and are a part of it.

Congressman Griffith representing Virginia’s 9th Congressional District, which includes Claytor Lake, shared with us his views on property rights within the boundary of Smith Mountain and Claytor Hydro-Projects.  He also was very vocal about the over reach of FERC.

In addition staff members from Congressmen Hastings (WA), Goodlatte (VA), and Luetkemeyer (MO) stopped by to chat, along with staff from Senator Warner’s (VA) office.  All are committed to finding a solution to this FERC over reach.  Upon reflection I noted to our group, that it was three freshmen members who joined in support of our cause to get the FERC out of the SMP business.  Maybe I’m being idealistic (it feels so much better than cynicism) that new blood and ideas can turn not only this situation around, but possibly even other seemingly unsolvable issues.

When we asked for guidance, we were reassured that we were doing all things right.  We were encouraged to continue to communicate with other FERC mismanaged hydro projects across the Country experiencing similar issues.  It may sound trite … E Pluribus Unum -- out of many one -- One United Voice to fight against this unconstitutional taking and over reach of FERC.

I encourage you to make your comments regarding these bills to your members of Congress.  Speak up using POPVOX ...

·         For the House bill click on the link:  H.R. 3244: Landowner Protection Act of 2011

·         For the Senate bill click on the link: S. 1758: A bill to amend the Federal Power Act 

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[i] IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

October 20, 2011

Mrs. MCCASKILL (for herself and Mr. BLUNT) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


A BILL

To amend the Federal Power Act prohibit the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from requiring the removal or modification of existing structures or encroachments in licenses of the Commission.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘Landowner Protection Act of 2011’.

SEC. 2. SHORELINE MANAGEMENT PLANS.

(a) In General- Section 4(e) of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 797(e)) is amended--

(1) by designating the first, second, and third sentences as paragraphs (1), (2), and (3), respectively; and

(2) by adding at the end the following:

‘(4) REMOVAL OR MODIFICATION OF EXISTING NONCONFORMING STRUCTURES OR ENCROACHMENTS-

‘(A) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subparagraph (B), in issuing, denying, approving, or modifying a shoreline management plan required under any license issued under this part for any project, the Commission shall not require the removal or modification of any existing nonconforming structure or encroachment within the project boundary.

‘(B) EXCEPTION- Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to any existing nonconforming structure or encroachment built within the project boundary in bad faith.’.

(b) Effective Date- The amendments made by subsection (a) shall take effect on January 1, 2011.

 

[ii] IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

October 24, 2011

Mrs. HARTZLER (for herself, Mr. LUETKEMEYER, Mrs. EMERSON, Mr. AKIN, Mr. GRAVES of Missouri, Mr. LONG, Mr. CARNAHAN, Mr. CLAY, Mr. CLEAVER, and Mr. HURT) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

A BILL

To amend the Federal Power Act to prohibit the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from requiring the removal or modification of existing structures or encroachments in licenses of the Commission.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘Landowner Protection Act of 2011’.

SEC. 2. SHORELINE MANAGEMENT PLANS.

(a) In General- Section 4(e) of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 797(e)) is amended--

(1) by designating the first, second, and third sentences as paragraphs (1), (2), and (3), respectively; and

(2) by adding at the end the following:

‘(4) REMOVAL OR MODIFICATION OF EXISTING NONCONFORMING STRUCTURES OR ENCROACHMENTS-

‘(A) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subparagraph (B), in issuing, denying, approving, or modifying a shoreline management plan required under any license issued under this part for any project, the Commission shall not require the removal or modification of any existing nonconforming structure or encroachment within the project boundary.

‘(B) EXCEPTION- Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to any existing nonconforming structure or encroachment built within the project boundary in bad faith.’.

(b) Effective Date- The amendments made by subsection (a) shall take effect on January 1, 2011.

 

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Oct 29, 2011, 9:27 AM