News

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Recreation Plan Update Meeting Rescheduled

3/4/2015

NOTICE:
Because of the impending weather, the public meeting scheduled for Thursday March 5th has been CANCELLED. The meeting will be rescheduled to Monday, March 16, 2015 at 6:30 pm at the Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa in Morgantown, WV.

If you have any questions, please contact me by email or by the number below.

Kim Johnson | Compliance Supervisor
NAES Corporation
Cell 540-290-0333
Email kim.johnson@naes.com
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Recreation Plan Update Meeting Rescheduled

2/26/2015

Hello Campers and Outdoor Lovers,

The Postponed 2015 Cheat Lake Recreation Plan Update Public Meeting has been Rescheduled!

The Meeting will be Thursday March 5th 6:30pm at Lakeview Resort.

http://www.lakeviewresort.com/accommodations

It is unfortunate that some traveled long distances in poor weather for the previously scheduled meeting. This is a much better venue and you are all encouraged to attend the meeting in good confidence.

The meeting will discuss the Updated Recreation Plan and the future of camping on Cheat Lake.

Further updates or information concerning the meeting will be posted on our Facebook Page or Website.
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Recreation Plan Update Meeting Postponed

2/19/2015

Hello fellow camping enthusiasts,

The meeting scheduled for this evening has been postponed. The venue of the Cheat Lake fire hall was not accessible, apparently due to inclement weather. This is very disappointing for those who traveled long distances in poor conditions but shows the dedication and passion of Cheat Lake Campers.

The meeting is said to be rescheduled in about two weeks and I will inform you of the new date as soon as I learn it. Perhaps we will have an even better turnout on the revised date. Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise.

Some of us received a booklet explaining the recreation plan update and I hope to post it on cheatlakecampersunited.org when I receive the digital form.

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PUBLIC MEETING update 2/4/15

There will be a public meeting on Thursday February 19th 2015 at 6pm. The meeting will be held at the Cheat Lake Fire Hall concerning the updated recreation plan and the future of camping on Cheat Lake. Please consider attending the meeting to express your concerns and support camping on Cheat Lake.

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BREAKING NEWS:

The Hydro Power Station/Cheat Lake has been sold. Long winded and boring but, official.

https://www.firstenergycorp.com/newsroom/news_releases/firstenergy-completes-sale-of-eleven-hydroelectric-power-station.html
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Park Boat Launch gets dock!

A much needed dock has been provided at the Cheat Lake Park boat launch. Thank you to the responsible party.
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Cheat Lake Campers Receive Renewals!

First Energy has sent out bills to campers to renew their leases. CLCU is hopeful that overnight camping will be allowed and camping on Cheat Lake can continue for current and future camping enthusiast.

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CLEAR Has It’s Campsite Upgraded.

CLEAR gets new steps

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Power Grid Drill Scheduled for the East Coast in November.

Consider being prepared for an extended period without power.

http://www.nerc.com/pa/CI/CIPOutreach/Pages/GridEX.aspx

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/us/as-worries-over-the-power-grid-rise-a-drill-will-simulate-a-knockout-blow.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

National Geographic does a Movie eluding to the possible loss of power. Possibly during the drill.

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/american-blackout/?gclid=CNfb8IGBkroCFVFp7AoddFcAGg

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Trib Total Media does a story on our plight!

Special thanks to Trib Total Media and the Roddy’s for initiating this story!

http://triblive.com/news/editorspicks/4660504-74/lake-cheat-family#axzz2eLUmKcDI

http://uwualocal304.org/cheat-lake-campers-feel-cheated-by-first-energy-letter/#prettyPhoto

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FirstEnergy selling hydroelectric plants, including Lake Lynn facility

http://m.heraldstandard.com/gcm/news/local_news/firstenergy-selling-hydroelectric-plants-including-lake-lynn-facility/article_b4b33e16-d297-56e3-bed7-cccff40e5112.html?mode=jqm

FirstEnergy looking into buying small nuclear reactor from Babcock & Wilcox

http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2012/07/firstenergy_looking_into_buyin.html

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FE Power plant focus of lawsuit

http://www.observer-reporter.com/article/20130827/NEWS02/130829462#.UiDcExusjlV

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First Energy Sends Letter

A letter was sent to all licensees demanding the removal of shelters and an obvious step toward phasing out campsites.

Go Here to view the letter http://cheatlakecampersunited.org/?page_id=1389

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FirstEnergy closing coal-fired plants in Greene, Washington counties

http://www.wtae.com/news/local/washington/firstenergy-closing-2-coalfired-plants-in-washington-county/-/10932154/20897940/-/lwlr54z/-/index.html

 

CLCU Forum Updated

The website experienced problems with the public forum. We are upgrading to a better (paid for, not free) application. The content of the previous forum will be deleted in the transition and at the time of this message the forum is unable to upload attachments/images.  Thank you for your patience as the web master is working to get the new forum running ASAP.

THE NEW PUBLIC FORUM IS READY!  Sorry for the inconvenience.

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FERC Addresses the Grandfather Rule

I contacted FERC to ask about the grandfather rule included in the latest recreation plan.

Mr Fletcher,

 I contacted you a few weeks ago concerning the elimination of camping at Cheat Lake. We have developed a website to organize information and to share our concerns. http://cheatlakecampersunited.org/

 In the attached document page 4 paragraph 9 it states that our “leased campsites pre-date the recreation plan and have been grandfathered into the current plan”. However, according to First Energy we may no longer camp overnight and must tear down our previously approved shelters. Since this document is dated  Oct. 9 2012 and is titled “Order ApprovingRecreation Plan Update” we assume this is the approved plan.

 Can you explain why this document states such yet First Energy is preparing to have our sites “phased out”.

 Thank you

—-FERC Reply—-

Dear Mr. Kotarsky.

My supervisor, Mr. Bob Fletcher, has asked me to follow up on your email below.

You asked why our September 24, 2012 order states that Allegheny Energy Supply Company (AESC) is preparing to have “phased out” the 37 privilege permits or licenses issued for leased plots, also referred to as campsites.

Since these leased campsites pre-date the recreation plan, they were grandfathered into the current plan.   However, AESC has told us that they have determined that it will no longer issue new permits for these campsites.  They say the reason is due to a lack of adequate sanitation facilities and aesthetic issues resulting from these privilege permit campsites.   But regardless of the reasons, they own the land, and if they want to “phase out” these campsites, that is their right.  While the FERC promotes public recreation and access at it licensed project, it does not support private leased (or privilege) campsites.  For that reason, the current plan has the leased campsites, which AESC may phase out as they see needed to manage their land.

If you want to talk about this matter or have other questions, please feel free to use my contact information below.

Lorance (Randy) W. Yates, M.Sc.

Environmental Protection Specialist
FERC’s Office of Energy Projects
Phone: 678-245-3084 (Atlanta, GA)
Fax: 678-245-3010
E-mail: lorance.yates@ferc.gov

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West Virginia Residents Needed

CLCU needs WV residents to contact the Public Service Commission of WV. It has come to my understanding that they can help address our concerns with FERC and First Energy. Their information is here and on the LINKS page. Please, Please, Please contact them and express your concerns. I contacted Monongalia County Commission and was refereed to CLEAR.

Public Service Commission – http://www.psc.state.wv.us/scripts/onlinecomments/default.cfm

—–Here is the message i sent them today—-

I am from PA but am speaking on behalf of many WV residents as well. First Energy has decided to phase out campsites many of us have enjoyed for decades. We have developed a website to present a petition, organize information and share memories. FERC suggested we contact you for assistance. We were not aware of the meeting in April and were not represented or able to express our feelings concerning these decisions. Please visit our website to learn about our plight. I look forward to your reply.

http://cheatlakecampersunited.org/

Thank You for your time and consideration,

Joe

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First Energy Cleans Debris from the Lake

A clean-up crew was scouring the shore for garbage last week. Though garbage could still be found along the shores when the crew was done the effort shows an honest attempt to beautify the lake.  In the future perhaps members of CLCU can volunteer to help keep the lake clean.

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FirstEnergy hires adviser to sell hydropower plants – CEO

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/07/utilities-firstenergy-hydrosale-idUSL2N0DO2GF20130507

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“Man Drowns at Cheat Lake”

http://http://wajr.com/common/more.php?m=15&r=1&item_id=9831

http://www.wboy.com/story/22657270/update-man-declared-dead-after-drowning-in-cheat-lake

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“Dominion Post Interested in CLCU Concerns”

This is a correspondence with The Dominion Post. I was asking for particular archive stories concerning recreation on the lake.

–To Dominion Post:

Hello,
My name is Joe Kotarsky and have had a leased a campsite at Cheat Lake for many years. The sites are slated to be eliminated and we have started a website to organize information and our thoughts and memories.
I am contacting you today to ask if you have archives avaliable? If so i would like the digital file of Monday, Aug. 1, 1994 page 5-A and 6-A by Lee Chottiner “CLEAR offers it’s services”. I have the paper copy of this issue but would like to post a copy of the story on our website without me cutting the paper copy I have. I don’t have a flat bed scanner.  Also, If you have any related stories you think we would be interested in please let me know.
Check out our website. You’re invited to sign the petition.
Sincerely,
Joe
–Reply From the Post:

Hello,

My name is Ben Conley and I’m a reporter at The Dominion Post. My editor passed along an email you sent to someone in the newsroom.  I would be interested in speaking to you. Please give me a call at the office at 304-291-9427.  I am interested in putting together a story for this weekend, so if you could give me a call today, I would appreciate it. I should be in the office until 4:30 or so.

–I replied:

Hello Ben,

 I was at the campsite the last few days. I’m not sure when I will going back. It may be as early as tomorrow/Saturday or as late as the middle of next week. On July 10th some of the family is coming in to stay at the camp for a few days. Perhaps talking to my family would also make for part of the story with the babies and all generations being represented. Many other families like ours have the same sorrows and perhaps I could introduce you to other campers who would like to voice their concerns and sorrows.

 We don’t want to appear to be arrogantly challenging First Energy though we do want to have our voices heard and to be proactive in solutions. I informed First Energy of our website and have heard back no reply.

 So, I will call you Monday. I would like to have a couple nights to sleep on the idea of meeting with you. Some think that we shouldn’t stir the pot and wait and see. But the writing is on the walls and in meeting minutes. I would like to talk to some of the campers to see if they would like to talk to you.

 I would like to post on our website that there will be a day to speak with you but I fear First Energy seeing this as an act of arrogant aggression. I would assume that you would want to talk to others such as First Energy and other organizations. So a big label of trouble maker is sure to come my way.

 My original email was concerning getting old news that has been reported in your paper in the past. Specifically, I would like the digital file (if possible) of Monday, Aug. 1, 1994 page 5-A and 6-A by Lee Chottiner “CLEAR offers it’s services”

–Dominion Post Replied:

Hello,

Thanks for getting back to me. I don’t want to stir up any trouble for you, but if there are several people that share your concern, it’s a least worth a conversation. Certainly someone felt strongly enough about the issue to create a website for the world to see. I would simply like a greater understanding of what is being said, done or planned that has people concerned. I have already put in a call to Allegheny, and plan to speak to them soon, probably early next week. Regarding the clippings you requested, our digital database goes back to 1996, so it would have to be a hard copy of the paper. I will find out if we have back copies going back that far and let you know. Feel free to give me a call at 304-291-9427.

Thanks

Ben

 

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OLD NEWS:          $3M for Cheat Access      CLEAR Description

 CLEAR offers its services pg1 CLEAR services cont. pg2Saving the Cheat. Safety

2012:                      FERC Preliminary Plan     FERC Plan Approval

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Controversy (?!) Over Access to Cheat Lake

By Dave Saville

Morgantown area residents are fortunate to have a wonderful recreational resource such as Cheat Lake near by. But, over the years the lake has slowly grown out of reach to average citizens as access has dwindled. Used to be you drove down by the bridge, parked your car and jumped in. Or, there were the famous “backwaters” where you could go swimming, or you could hike to Quarry Run, past Mt. Chateau and enjoy the cool water there. Slowly these access points have all been closed to the public. Governor Moore sold off the Mt Chateau land to a developer, the local residents of the upscale developments didn’t like the riff-raff hanging out at the bridge so they had it posted, same fate for the backwaters. Now, the lake is the private property of those who can afford a lot in one of the most expensive housing developments in the state, or those who own a boat and rent dock space at one of the marinas. We peasants couldn’t just go to Cheat Lake any more. It was off limits.

In comes FERC. That’s the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. You see, Cheat Lake is part of Allegheny Powers (AP) hydrogenerating network. They are licensed by FERC. Renewal time came along and AP learned they had to develop recreational facilities at the lake, and provide public access, to get their license renewed. This started a several year study including town meetings, local input, hearings, comment periods, etc, until AP came up with a plan acceptable to everyone. The plan included picnic areas, nature viewing areas, and a beautiful 4.5 mile rail-trail at lake level.

Everybody was happy.

That is, until the wealthy residents of Greystone estates near by the lake realized what had happened. The planned trail goes in between their mansions and the lakefront. These nearby residents have obtained special use permits from AP to cross AP’s land and build boat docks on the lake. The “cart paths” they have constructed cross the rail-trail on the way to their docks. Make no mistake about it, this is AP’s land – Greystone residents have no title to it, simply a right of way to access the lake.

These folks would like to keep the lakefront to themselves, even though they don’t own it. They have tried every trick in the book to keep this trail from being built. They have several times appealed to FERC, which has ruled against them every time. One of the residents has even called trail proponents “selfish.” If that isn’t the epitome of hypocrisy, I don’t know what is. They have infiltrated the local organization, Cheat Lake Environmental and Recreation Association (CLEAR), who were the original advocates of the trail, forcing trail proponents to form another group, Friends of the Cheat Lake Trail (FOCLT).

As Co-President of FOCLT, I have waged a mostly cyber campaign to keep the trail in the plan and see to its construction. We in FOCLT have shown a willingness to compromise, and have even suggested alternatives which might be used to down size the Cheat Lake Trail and provide additional access to the Lake. None of this seems to satisfy those who would like to keep the lake to themselves. They vow to get an injunction to keep trail construction from getting underway.

Some of the reasons why they are not justified in their opposition;

1) The adjacent property owners had more than adequate opportunity to participate in the process through the numerous public meetings and planning sessions held by both Allegheny Power and the CLEAR over the last 4 years.

2) The trail does not unlawfully evict them from their legally acquired right of way. The property is owned by Allegheny Power.

3) Article 18 of the project license requires the licensee, Allegheny Power, to allow free public access to project lands and waters for outdoor recreational purposes. It states “neither adjacent property owners, nor any other group, shall have the ability to restrict or limit, public access to recreational lands and facilities at federally licensed projects.” Since the trail is owned by Allegheny Power, and not Greystone property owners, removal of the trail from the project is unlawful. Not building the trail would essentially turn over these lands to the landowners for their exclusive use.

4) The public safety, liability, and reduced property value claims by the residents are wholly unfounded. No evidence has been submitted by the residents that support this contention. In fact, the research clearly shows that these lands become safer and liability decreases when they are managed. Hiking/biking trails are among the most secure, crime free areas in a community. Fear of vandalism or trespass alone is not a basis for stopping a rail trail project. If it were, none of the thousands of miles of trails around the country would have been established. In terms of property values, most studies show that values increase or stay the same when trails are constructed.

5) The trail as currently approved also provides the only access to the Allegheny Power Wildlife Habitat and Nature Viewing Area. Without this access, this area will become a private park used exclusively by those who live in the Greystone development.

6) This trail does not, as claimed in many of the homeowner letters, go “through” the backyards of these residents. This is Allegheny Power property down to the lake, and is not the property of the residents. Distance, elevation gain, and maintaining vegetation will provide a level of privacy to the extent that in most cases you cannot even see the houses from the trail. Ironically, several residents have reduced this privacy by cutting trees and vegetation and by carrying out landscaping on Allegheny Power Property. In essence, they have mingled Allegheny Power property with their own, an infringement of not only the company’s property rights, but also the public’s right of access to public lands. In a recent real estate industry survey, new home buyers ranked “proximity to hiking and biking trails” #3 among 39 features they were willing to pay extra for. Just behind “access to open space.” Seems to me the folks at Cheat Lake should appreciate the increase in property values they will realize as a result of the proposed recreational facilities in the area, especially so since “proximity to tennis courts and golf courses,” which had been high on the lists in the past, dropped to 28th and 29th, respectively.

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