Granite Peak Ski Area pumped millions of gallons of water without federal approval

Granite Peak Ski area could be facing trouble after taking millions of gallons of water from Big Rib River without federal approval.

Documents obtained by News 9 from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said this has been going on for more than 15 years.

This issue came to light when Granite Peak wanted to make more snow on Rib Mountain in 2017-18.

Documents show the ski area eventually wants to use up to 17.28 million gallons of water per day to cover the grounds with snow. 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC, said it’s approval is mandatory when pumping more than one million gallons of water from the Big Rib River, which helps power Domtar’s Hydroelectric plant.

According to a 105 page complaint Domtar filed with the federal agency in March, Granite Peak could affect the flow at Domtar’s dam.

"We are attempting to work with all parties involved currently and to develop a plan and to comply with the FERC," said Craig Timm, the Manager of Regional Public Affairs for Domtar.

However, Tim is confident Domtar is following all the rules and permits it needs.They are permitted by the FERC to operate and maintain their dam.

The permit lasts for 30 years and was last renewed in 1996.

In response to Domtar’s complaint, Granite Peak argues it pulls water from the reservoir which is not owned by Domtar.

Granite Peak project manager, Peter Biermeir issued a statement saying, "Granite Peak is confident we can continue to move forward in a collaborative manner."

Both parties have until May 31st to respond to the FERC action plan. 

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