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Former San Juan County planner catalyst of dam removal project

August 24, 2011: San Juan County residents thought Rick Rutz handled controversial issues during his tenure as a long-range planner - guesthouses, definitions of resource lands, Urban Growth Areas, little did they know.

Rutz played an instrumental role in the historic tear-down of two dams, which begins next month, resulting in the opening up of 70 miles of the Elwha river and its tributaries.

He convinced conservation groups the Federal Power Act of 1921 prohibited hydroelectric dams in national parks. Rutz is not a lawyer, but wrote the legal intervention for the first four conservation groups - Olympic Park Associates, Seattle Audubon Society, Sierra Club, and Friends of the Earth - who intervened before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 

The argument: the expiration of the 50-year license of Glines Canyon Dam (built illegally inside the park) should be treated as a new license application, and the lower Elwha Dam should not be licensed.

The source of this information is Voice of the Wild Olympics.

 

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