The Seneca Indian Nation is seeking control as the owner-operator of a massive hydropower operation near Warren, Pa. The move toward economic diversity will also amend an “historic injustice” committed against the Seneca Nation, reported The Post-Journal.
“Who better than us to have the right to operate a hydroelectric power facility for the next 50 years that is sustained by our very own lands and waters?” asked Seneca President Robert Porter.
Prior to the Kinzua Dam’s construction between 1960 and its opening in 1965, the government forced 147 Seneca families out of their homes on 10,000 acres of treaty-protected Allegany territory in a fertile valley, and relocated them several miles away. The homes were burned and the land was flooded to build the Allegheny Reservoir.
The nation has never been invited to share in the project’s significant financial benefits.
“We will no longer sit idly or silently by and watch our water flow through our territory for others’ benefit and prosperity,” said Wendy Huff, executive director of the nation’s Kinzua Dam Relicensing Commission, according to The Post-Journal.
Since the Akron, Ohio, company FirstEnergy’s license to operate the dam expires in 2015, the Seneca nation filed application documents with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Nov. 30, 2010, for the license to operate the Seneca Pumped Storage Project at Kinzua Dam.
FirstEnergy seeks renewal of its operating license of the power plant. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will handle the decision-making process.
Operating the facility is “exactly the kind of green-energy development that is completely consistent with our time-honored Seneca values of protecting the lands and waters of our Mother Earth,” Porter said. “Unlike corporate interests that scatter their profits to shareholders far and wide, our interests focus on the long-term survival of our people and the vitality of our region.”