Group calls for Mon County Commission letter of support for Cheat Lake recreation activities

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Representatives from the Cheat Lake Environmental and Recreation Association (CLEAR) have asked the Monongalia County Commission for a letter of support to federal officials to continue recreational activities in the Cheat Lake area.

In response to a rejected federal application for a thirty-year license for the dam by their operators, CLEAR President Duane Nichols requested a letter of support from the commission to clear up deficiencies so a new licensing contract can be approved by the federal government.

“It’s a temporary statement that they need to clear up the inefficiencies so that the federal government can write a new contract,” said Nichols in a presentation to the commission Wednesday.

The need for a letter of support from the Mon County Commission stems from an expired ninety-day defficiency letter sent by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). An extension was filed by Cheat Lake Dam operator Eagle Creek Renewable Energy in March 2023 to address deficiencies after a ninety-day grace period issued on a federal level passed with several issues that needed to be addressed. Nichols hopes the commission’s support can ease concerns ahead of a final license application.

“Now CLEAR is concerned about this application because we believe that there are still inefficiencies,” said Nichols.

Representatives from CLEAR hope that a letter of support from the commission will bring a unanimous voice to continue recreational activities around Cheat Lake. In doing so, Nichols stated it would give federal regulators an endorsement of local support for the Cheat Lake Dam while also giving extra incentives to complete any deficiencies still found in the dam ahead of a thirty-year license.

“If and when this commission can provide evidence that recreation is important to this county, then the FREC commissioners will act in our favor to address inefficiencies and see that they are followed through,” said Nichols.

CLEAR aims to continue recreational activities around Cheat Lake that they’ve been involved in since the 1990s. The letter of support from the commission to ease federal concerns is expected to be approved based on their financial backing of CLEAR in the past, as far back as 2010. With extra local support, Cheat Lake residents are expected to see activities continue around the area as growth and development continue.

“This is indicating that recreation is important to the citizens in Monongalia County; it’s a necessary thing, and this lake provides further recreation for that purpose,” said Commissioner Jeff Arnett.