Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 219, the Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project Boundary Correction Act. Alaska Congressman Don Young introduced this legislation to update a boundary line for the Project in Southeast Alaska.
“The Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project is a remote facility in Southeast Alaska that provides electric power to nearly 20,000 of my constituents in the cities of Petersburg, Wrangell and Ketchikan and the surrounding areas,” said Congressman Young. “In 1994, the land was surveyed by the federal government and transferred to the State of Alaska in 1997. In 2012, the project operator discovered an error in the federal government’s survey and determined an additional 25.8 acres of federal land would be covered with water if the dam level were raised as planned.
“There is no disagreement among the federal and state agencies concerned that an error occurred. H.R. 219 would fix the error by requiring the Secretary of the Interior to correct the survey and transfer the remaining acreage to the State of Alaska. This is a common-sense bill that promotes green energy development at zero cost to the federal government.”
“The [Swan Lake] Project was authorized by FERC and operation began in 1984,” said Hawaii Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa. “It is currently operated by a not-for-profit Alaskan joint action agency called the Southeast Alaska Power Agency. These utilities provide an estimated 62% of the power consumed by the communities they serve. The survey that was used to convey land for the expansion project contained a mistake and omitted the Lost Creek section and other additional areas.”
H.R. 219 would correct the error by requiring the Secretary of the Interior, after consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, to survey the exterior boundaries of the tract of federal land within the Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project boundary and transfer the surveyed federal land within the project to the State of Alaska. There is agreement among the federal and State agencies that this error was the reason 25.8 acres of Forest Service lands within the Project boundary were not transferred back in 1997.
The passage of H.R. 219 marks the fifth bill Congressman Young has passed out of the House in the 115th Congress.