Laurie Husted, Chief Sustainability Officer, Bard College
Non-Federal Permitting Requirements
While the team at Bard was waiting to hear back from FERC regarding our federal application, we decided to discuss the project locally. This meant reaching out to local and state agencies to understand what regulatory requirements we would have to meet at these levels to move forward with the project.
We asked the Town of Red Hook – could we install micro hydropower on our existing two dams? We approached the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 3 for a preliminary meeting. The purpose of this meeting was to learn what permits we would need to receive from them for the project to move forward. We also contacted the New York Dam Safety Office, as well as the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to understand more about whether they thought the dam was historically significant.
The Annandale Dam is a National Historic Landmark as part of the Montgomery Place property. This designation was one of the reasons we reached out to the State Historic Preservation Office.
As we proceeded through these regulatory conversations, we learned several things:
- The Town of Red Hook would require a change in their zoning law to allow for micro hydropower
- The Town Planning Board would require a simultaneous review of our project through the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process while the new zoning law was being crafted. That process is standardized by filing an Environmental Assessment Form (EAF).
- The DEC would be a party to the process whether local or federally managed, but would have less to say in the latter case
- Parks wanted to learn more; they did care about the historic nature of our dams since they are listed on the National Historic Registry as part of Montgomery Place. We filled out a form to let them know more about our project here>. See our response here: State Historic Preservation Office Response to Annandale Dam Microhydro.
We are continuing to move forward with collecting data for the Dam Safety Office and other local and state requirements alongside the next steps of the federal permitting process. While DEC and the Town of Red Hook may have a smaller regulatory role to play if we do not receive FERC exemption, we are committed to working with our local stakeholders during the project.