About a year ago, we shared information in our newsletter about the closure of Amador Lane behind Lake Tabeaud. The public and local homeowners used the road for recreation access to the inlet to Lake Tabeaud, hiking access to the Upper Standard Canal trail, access to their homes, and for many other uses since the road was built in 1948. The road was in continuous public use until gated by private landowners in May 2017. Private, state litigation to open the road has been on hold, largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On May 21, 2020 we held a conference call with representatives of PG&E, CalFire, American Whitewater, and Friends of the River to discuss PG&E’s obligations regarding access to Amador Lane. During the call, attorneys from the Water + Power Law Group of Berkeley, who have represented us on hydropower issues for years, informed PG&E that the utility has a legal obligation to keep the road open under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license for the Mokelumne River (hydroelectric) Project. The road is entirely within PG&E’s FERC license boundaries.
In that call, we expressed our concerns regarding safe fishing access, the need for those who cannot walk or bicycle to use vehicles on the road, and our public safety concerns. CalFire Battalion Chief Mike Weidner and Captain Stevie Long agreed that the road provides critical access for wildland firefighting and evacuation and that the locked gates slow critical emergency response.
A few weeks later, PG&E informed us that they do not believe they have a legal obligation to open Amador Lane.
We followed up by filing a formal complaint and factual declaration with FERC on July 28. PG&E responded in August, claiming that FERC should reject our complaint. On August 26, FERC responded that it will handle our complaint as an allegation of noncompliance with PG&E’s federal license, request more information if needed, and inform us of their decision.
For more information, contact Shane Dante by email.