How much does the Ocoee River mean to you?

The Ocoee might not release after 2018!!!

We can’t let this happen, can we?


TVA is the only utility allowed to collect fees for water releases. For example, Progress Energy provides releases on the Pigeon River without reimbursement for lost power.


SO, WHY DOES ANY OF THIS MATTER TO PRIVATE BOATERS?


Well, these increased fees on our outfitters are simply unsustainable. These fees represent a 780% increase from the current cost. If the outfitters are unable to pay for the water, releases will be jeopardized for private boaters and rafters alike. As an avid kayaker, I cannot imagine our area without the Ocoee River. It is a great source of pride for our community and a valuable economic resource to our region. With the current contract set to expire, we now have a unique opportunity to protect the Ocoee River in perpetuity. Right now, the only defined purpose of Ocoee No. 2 (Middle) is for generating hydroelectric power. The Ocoee River Council is proposing legislation that would reclassify Ocoee No. 2 and Ocoee No. 3 projects to include whitewater recreation as one of the project’s purposes. This would effectively mean that whitewater recreation on the Ocoee River would be protected for your children, your grandchildren, and future generations to come. For many of us, the Ocoee River is where our love of whitewater

recreation started. It is such a unique, beautiful river where one can safely practice difficult moves and prepare for winter creeking season. With over 5 million visitors to the Ocoee River since 1980, it is clear that we cannot replace this river as an asset to our state and region.


So – I’ll ask you again:


How much does the Ocoee River mean to you?


Did you know the Ocoee might not release after 2018?


We can’t let this happen, can we?



Like many of you, I was astonished to find out that the Ocoee River might not release after 2018. The Ocoee River is the nation’s most popular whitewater river with nearly 250,000 visits annually for rafting, kayaking, and open boating. Currently, outfitters have a contract with the TVA

that provides water releases for recreation and it will expire in March 2019. For the next contract, TVA is asking for $1.8 million annually to pay for water releases and this estimate is only for the first 5 years. It is important to realize that AND…
ISN’T IT PAST TIME TO SECURE THE NATION’S MOST POPULAR WHITEWATER DESTINATION?



WHAT IS REALLY AT STAKE?

• 622 full time jobs
• $43.83 million in total economic activity
• $14.12 million in worker paychecks
• $3.57 million in total federal, state and local taxes generated

Source: “The Economic Impacts of Visitor Spending and Whitewater Rafting on the Ocoee River,” 2012, Dr. Steve Morse, University of Tennessee, Knoxville



HOW MUCH POWER IS LOST?


The amount of power lost is minuscule. It represents less than 6/10,000ths of the TVA system’s generating capacity and the power generated by Ocoee No. 2 project is not noticeable in payer rates.


HOW CAN YOU HELP?


We need you to write letters to your US Senators and Congressional Representatives. We even have sample letter which you can download HERE. WRITE CONGRESS TODAY.  You can find out who all of your state and federal representatives are by simply entering your address into the online form provided on the Common Cause website. They are an organization which advocates holding our public officials accountable. Download a sample letter HERE and add your own personal touch to it. Then just go to CommonCause.org to find out where to send the completed letters. Only federal legislation will save the Ocoee! Please customize your letters. The Ocoee River Council has made progress with legislation in the State of Tennessee, but there is still a long fight ahead.


This month, the Tennessee Legislature and Governer passed SJR 0166, a resolution to express support for appropriate action to to be taken to enable the Ocoee River to maintain its status as the nation’s most popular whitewater destination. Read more about the resolution here. While this is an important step towards securing the future of the Ocoee, it is certainly not the end. We still need people to write Congress, in fact, desperately. We are still seeking federal legislation for the ultimate repurposing of the Ocoee River to include whitewater recreation as a legitimate use of the river.


This week, the Ocoee River Council had meetings with Tennessee senators, and while there was a huge push for letters prior to these meetings, it’s definitely not too late, and writing your representatives has never been easier. You can also visit The Ocoee River Council at SaveTheOcoee.org to get additional information.


If you have questions, contact:

Stacy Stone

Grassroots Campaign Coordinator
Ocoee River Council
www.savetheocoee.org

The Ocoee River Council has made progress with legislation in the State of Tennessee, but there is still a  long fight ahead.

Article By Stacy Stone & Meryl Stark