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Save Summer Lake

Letter to the Editor, Lake County Examiner

Jan 28, 2009

NT Hydro, an Idaho based energy speculation firm, filed an application in 2007 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to begin development studies for a pumped storage hydroelectric project in Summer Lake.

NT Hydro plans to pump water uphill out of Summer Lake to an 80 acre sump blasted into the rock of Winter Rim. During the day when electricity demand is at “peak” they will run water downhill to generate electricity to sell. At night, when electricity is “cheap” they will buy power back to pump the water up the hill again.
As common sense tells us, it takes more energy to move water uphill than can be recovered by running it back down. This results in a net energy loss, but a profit to NT Hydro.
Despite over a hundred letters of protest from  land owners and multiple motions to intervene filed by individuals, organizations  and government agencies the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted NT Hydro a permit citing that
“ ...a preliminary permit authorizes neither construction nor operation (and) …would not affect the resources in question”. 

The real danger in such bureaucratic bone-headedness is that if ultimately a federal energy license is granted, the energy company can exercise the power of eminent domain. They can use your land against your will. 

Summer Lake is dry much of the year.  The little water the lake contains does not need to be running up and down 11,000 feet of pipes to keep swimming pools heated in California.

Mark Twain once wrote that “Whiskey’s for drinking and water’s for fighting over.”  Truer words were never spoken.

For more information about NT Hydro’s energy development plans for both Abert and Summer Lake, go to

Colin Smith PO Box 7
Summer Lake 97640


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Bend, OR 97702
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