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Rep. Garamendi Stands up for Lake County and Lake Pillsbury Residents in FERC Relicensing

October 16, 2020
Press Release
Demands Lake County have equal seat at the table for determining the future of Potter Valley Project and Lake Pillsbury Reservoir

Lake County, CA—Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) submitted a formal comment letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) opposing the proposed removal of Scott Dam at Lake Pillsbury. This proposal has been issued over the objections of Lake County residents as part of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) divestment of the Potter Valley Hydropower Project.

The Lake Pillsbury Reservoir is a fixture of Lake County that has been enjoyed by visitors and residents alike since 1922. Future planning for the Potter Valley Project excludes Lake County and the residents and property owners in the Lake Pillsbury Area. On May 13, 2020, a consortium led by Mendocino and Sonoma Counties formally submitted their plan to gain control of the Potter Valley Project from PG&E. If approved, Lake County would have no operational control over the Potter Valley Project, including the Scott Dam and Lake Pillsbury reservoir. This is just not right or acceptable.

“Lake County residents who have owned homes and property around Lake Pillsbury reservoir for decades have been shut out of planning for the future of the Potter Valley Project,” Garamendi said. “Let me be clear: any decision-making for the Scott Dam and Lake Pillsbury Reservoir must include representatives from Lake County. Anything short of that is simply unacceptable. 

“The Lake Pillsbury reservoir has been a feature of Lake County since 1922 and provides essential firefighting capacity for one of the most fire-prone regions in California,” Garamendi continued. “CalFire made extensive use of Lake Pillsbury reservoir for firefighting during the devastating Mendocino Complex Fire in 2018, and again during this year’s fire season.

“I strongly oppose draining Lake Pillsbury reservoir by removing Scott Dam. The planning process will not be adequate until every community impacted by this project has a voice in the process,” Garamendi continued. “I expect FERC to give Lake County and Lake Pillsbury residents a full and equal seat at the table during this process. I stand ready with Lake County to create a version of the Potter Valley Project that works for every community involved, including cost-effective fish passage at Scott Dam,” Garamendi concluded.

You can read Rep. Garamendi’s letter to FERC here.

Members of the public can submit comments regarding the removal of Scott Dam and draining of Lake Pillsbury reservoir by:

1)   Registering with FERC’s online public comment portal.

2)   Once registered, check your email inbox. In the email from FERC, there will be a link to submit a public comment.

3)   Enter docket number P-77-298 and click “search”

4)   Click the blue + on the right side of the table to select the docket 

5)    Submit your comments in the comment box below.