Brookfield seeks to stop plan for sea-run salmon on Kennebec

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The owner of four dams on the Kennebec River is suing to stop the governor’s plan that could imperil the dams.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources is drafting stricter requirements for the dams, with a goal of restoring populations of sea-run fish like endangered Atlantic salmon between Waterville and Skowhegan.

The lawsuit by a subsidiary of Toronto-based Brookfield Renewable Partners seeks to stop the rulemaking process, the Bangor Daily News reported.

The process is playing out as one of the dams is up for license renewal through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The agency considers state plans when considering renewals.

Brookfield contends the rule-making is far more significant than the administration has publicly portrayed and that the governor is retaliating after the failure of her administration’s effort to broker the sale of the dams.

The narrowly focused a lawsuit doesn’t get into those complaints. It contends state law requires the state’s agriculture and energy offices to also weigh in on the DMR’s proposal.

The administration’s proposal is being hailed by conservationists who led the historic charge to remove the Edwards Dam in Augusta in 1997 and the Fort Halifax Dam in Winslow in 2008.