FERC Reverses Lake Front Ruling!!
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today provided certainty for citizens at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri by setting the record straight that FERC has not required shoreline homes and structures with valid deeds, permits and easements to be removed. The Lake of the Ozarks reservoir is part of the Osage Hydroelectric Project, licensed to Ameren UE.
“I am confident that today’s decision will bring clarity to residents along the shoreline of the Lake of the Ozarks,” FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said. “I expect Ameren to move quickly to comply with the Commission order. This will resolve all outstanding issues associated with its shoreline management plan and bring this matter to a swift and satisfactory resolution.”
FERC’s prior order on this case, issued July 26, 2011, was misinterpreted to mean that the Commission would order all privately owned structures built within the boundaries of the Osage project to be removed. Ameren is responsible for managing the shoreline, which includes ensuring that structures within the project boundary around the Lake of the Ozarks are built with the proper authorizations.
Today’s order states:
- Whatever property rights that owners have in lands within the boundaries of the Osage Project, whether conferred by deed, lease, easement or other conveyance, have not been and will not be altered by FERC’s actions today. Nothing in this order affects any previously issued valid permit authorizing a non-project use of project lands or waters.
- For structures without valid deeds, permits or easements, Ameren must determine whether they interfere with the Osage project. If they do, Ameren must take some action, such as redrawing the boundaries of the project, so those structures no longer are sitting on project lands. This would put them outside of the project boundaries and therefore outside of FERC jurisdiction.
- If any structure does interfere with the operation of the Osage project, Ameren and the structure owner must find a solution that satisfies both sides. Ameren itself has stated that after the project boundary is revised, it expects the majority of structures will no longer be considered nonconforming.
FERC established these requirements in the context of directing Ameren to change its shoreline management plan for the Osage project. Ameren must file with the Commission its plan to modify the project boundary by June 1, 2012.