And indeed, at a previous meeting to provide comments to FERC, that was the message of Alloy representatives.
"We just don't think that's true," says Buechler.
"What we believe is we're asking for a very small amount of water for a very small period of the year, and what we intend to prove is that this small loss of water to the plant that would need to be purchased from the grid is not going to impact the cost of the manufacturing products and their competitiveness in the world markets."
He told the commission that his resort hosted 100,000 visitors this year, with revenues approaching $15 million and a payroll of over 700.
"We want to minimize impacts on jobs and create a stronger Fayette County," says the West Virginia Professional River Outfitters Executive Director, Bobby Bower.
"The rafting industry is just that, an industry, and it's very important to the economy of Fayette County and a big part of the jobs created here in southern West Virginia."
A man with some experience in both the energy industry and recreational tourism also spoke at Thursday's meeting.
Mountaintop coal mining operations originally brought Rick Johnson, owner of River Expeditions, to West Virginia. But now he depends on a river for his livelihood.
"Coal used to drive our economy, but now tourism brings in about $20 million annually to our local economy, rafting being the predominant driver," said Johnson.
"Tourism is growing every day and coal is declining every day.
"Tourism is the only resource that renews itself every day and the money stays here in West Virginia and doesn't go to out-of-state corporations."
He also wants to see The Dries re-watered to improve the fisheries and renew a stream bed that has seen unnaturally low levels for 80 years.
"I think it would be pretty cool to see an ecosystem come back," he says.
Another proponent of healthy rivers who spoke at the meeting was Fayette County resident and "second-generation whitewater" enthusiast Heather Lukacs.
She called the relicensing a "critical opportunity for the next generation of people who live in this area" and says there is also economic value in quality of life.
"We've heard a lot from the development side and the economics, and I agree with everyone that that side is important," she says.
"But something that brought me back to this area was thinking about healthy, safe rivers, being able to look at a river bed and see that there is vibrant life."
To that end, she hopes FERC will consider an instream flow study to determine what flows would best protect aquatic habitat.
"I think a lot of West Virginians care about that, and I just want to make sure that's on the table."
Follow license application process for the Hawks Nest Hydro project
Brookfield Renewable Energy's license application for Hawks Nest Hydro isn't due for three more years, but there are plenty of opportunities to plug into the process before then.
Perhaps the simplest way to follow along is to utilize a website set up by Brookfield to track the relicensing process: http://hawksnestandglenferris.com.
You can also register online at http://www.ferc.gov/esubscription.asp to be notified by email of new filings and proceedings. Hawks Nest Hydro is Project No. 2512-069.
Right now, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is seeking two things -- comments on two key documents already generated, and input on any studies that should be a part of the licensing review.
Both key documents -- the "Pre-Application Document" and the "Scoping Document" -- are available at the Brookfield site.
Comments and study requests are due Nov. 21. Detailed information about submitting either is available in the Scoping Document.
Perhaps the simplest method for individuals filing comments is to use the eComment system at http://ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp.
The proposed study plan by Brookfield is due by Jan. 5, 2013. Then they will have 90 days to work with all stakeholders to resolve any disagreements. Comments on the proposed study plan are due by April 5, 2013.
Based on those comments, Brookfield is required to submit a revised study plan by May 5, with comments due on May 20.
After that, FERC will look at the comments and the revised study plan and make a determination of which studies are needed by June 4. If there are disputes, those will be mediated by Sept. 2.
Then the two-year study phase will begin. Finally, the application is due by the end of 2015, with a comment period preceding.
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