WASHINGTON (CN) – Missouri lakeshore residents who opposed a developer’s decision to build a seawall and install a wastewater pipe near the Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri lost their petition in the D.C. Circuit challenging how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission handled the controversial projects.
Residents of the lakeside resort community Duncan’s Point blamed FERC for the developer’s unpopular construction because its easement could be traced back to FERC. In 1981 FERC granted AmerenUE a 25-year license to operate the hydropower dam that created the lake by damming the Osage River. AmerenUE, in turn, granted a developer an easement for a discharge pipe and permission to build a 2,232-foot seawall for a new resort community near Duncan’s Point.
When FERC found out about the seawall and discharge pipe, it stopped construction of the wall and ordered AmerenUE to mitigate the harm already caused by, among other things, building a walkway along the seawall, creating a shoreline access area and developing a two-acre park.
The plaintiffs formally complained about the situation to FERC, alleging violations of the project license and federal environmental laws, but FERC denied the complaint on the grounds that the environmental laws apply to federal agencies, not private companies such as AmerenUE.
The appellate court went one step further in commending FERC for “act(ing) “reasonably throughout the controversy surrounding the developer’s discharge pipe and seawall.” The three-judge panel denied the petitions for review.