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Final week to comment on Duke's Catawba River license

http://66.225.205.104/JR20090504.mp3

This is the final week for the public to submit comments to federal regulators about the environmental impact of Duke Energy's power operations on the Catawba River. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: Duke Energy is seeking another 50 year license to continue operating its 13 hydropower dams on the Catawba River. The company also uses the river to operate three coal-fired plants and two nuclear plants. Next Monday is the deadline for the public to send comment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission about Duke's impact on Catawba River wildlife and recreation. David Merriman of the Catawba Riverkeeper environmental group worries the proposed license allows Duke Energy to hold back too much water during a drought. "Essentially, Duke does control the Catawba," says Merriman. "They manage all of their dams, and that dictates how the water moves throughout that 225 miles. But an important note, while they manage the river, as citizens of North and South Carolina, that water in the Catawba is ours." Residents on several of Duke Energy's reservoirs are also concerned the new license could leave their docks high and dry. Duke Energy has worked with local governments, environmental groups and neighborhood associations for the last six years to draft the proposal.