The Susitna be dammed

US could approve plans for an Alaskan megadam

The U.S. could approve plans to build the country’s first hydroelectric megadam in 40 years on Alaska’s Susitna River.

Dozens of dams have been torn down due to environmental concerns since 1995, when Daniel Beard, head of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, declared the U.S. dam-building era over, according to NewsScientist. Hydroelectric energy has been gaining support as a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels, but has long been considered detrimental to river habitats and local wildlife. The Susitna is one of the country’s last wild rivers and is a habitat that supports populations of salmon, caribou and grizzly bears.

On Dec. 29, the Alaska Energy Authority will submit a license application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“[The Susitna-Watana Hydro Project] will grow jobs now and into the future, and it will help Alaska reach its goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2025,” said Alaskan Gov. Sean Parnell.