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PPL Corporation Takes Major Step Forward in Landmark Agreement with Penobscot River Restoration Trust
Consortium has raised $25 million to purchase three PPL-owned dams, restore salmon migration on Maine's largest river
OLD TOWN, Maine
PPL Corporation and the Penobscot River Restoration Trust announced a major milestone Thursday (8/21) in the effort to open nearly 1,000 miles of the river to Atlantic salmon and other migratory fishes.
The trust has raised the $25 million necessary to purchase three PPL-owned dams along the Penobscot River in eastern Maine. PPL has received the trust's notice of intent to exercise the option, but the sale must still be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
"PPL applauds the extraordinary efforts of the Penobscot River Restoration Trust. This deal will restore native fish to the river and increase the amount of clean, renewable energy in New England," said Dennis Murphy, vice president and chief operating officer of Eastern Fossil and Hydro Generation for PPL.
"PPL is committed to helping the trust achieve its vision, and we pledge to move forward as quickly as possible to get the necessary approvals from the federal government," he said.
When the approvals are finalized, the Penobscot Trust has announced plans to remove dams at Veazie and Great Works, and decommission the dam at Howland but leave it in place and install a bypass channel for fish passage. As part of this landmark agreement, PPL has already increased renewable hydroelectric generating capacity at other dams it owns in Maine.
In addition, PPL started work in May to renovate and recommission its Orono, Maine, hydroelectric plant. The project will add 20,000 megawatt-hours per year of clean, renewable electricity to the region's power supplies.
PPL, which currently employs 17 people at its Maine operations, sees no change in employment as a result of the agreement.
"The Penobscot Trust's decision to purchase the dams enables us to move forward to complete this historic effort to restore a more vibrant, healthy river for people and wildlife," said Laura Rose Day, executive director of the Penobscot Trust. "PPL Corporation, the Penobscot Trust, people throughout the Penobscot region and governmental partners are working together for a future Penobscot River that supports hydropower energy, native sea-run fish, and more robust recreation, business and cultural opportunities."
The Penobscot River once supported one of the largest runs of Atlantic salmon in the United States. Its restoration is expected to have significant economic benefits for businesses in the area as the prized Atlantic salmon returns along with other migratory species such as American shad and river herring.
In 1999 and 2000, PPL acquired eight hydroelectric plants, and interest in a ninth hydro plant, primarily on the Penobscot and Union rivers in Maine.
Since taking ownership, PPL has been engaged in discussions with local, state and federal groups regarding issues such as fish passage on the Penobscot River, federal operating licenses, plans for increasing energy output of PPL dams and Native American concerns.
All of these parties filed the comprehensive plan in 2004 to restore sea-run fish to the river while reconfiguring energy production with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and project partners have worked steadfastly since then to see the project to completion.
Partners in the Penobscot River Restoration Project include the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission, the Penobscot Indian Nation, American Rivers, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Trout Unlimited, the Maine Audubon Society and the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL), headquartered in Allentown, Pa., controls more than 11,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States, sells energy in key U.S. markets and delivers electricity to about 4 million customers in Pennsylvania and the United Kingdom. More information is available at http://www.pplweb.com/.
First Call Analyst:
FCMN Contact: GCLewis@pplweb.com
SOURCE: PPL Corporation
CONTACT: George Lewis of PPL Corporation, +1-610-774-5997
Web site: http://www.pplweb.com/