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Hydroelectric plant in Southeast Oklahoma is a no-go for now, feds say

The Kiamichi River in SE Oklahoma.
Kelly Adams
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
The Kiamichi River in SE Oklahoma.

A power company is looking to build a hydroelectric power plant on the Kiamichi River near Talihina, but federal regulators have nipped the project in the bud.

The plant would require two dams, a pump system, a powerhouse and about 100 miles of transmission lines. It could produce enough electricity to power more than 5,000 homes. But not Oklahoma homes — that electricity would be piped down to Paris, Texas.

In January, Southeast Oklahoma Power Corporation filed a pre-application and a notice of intent to build and operate the facility.

Now, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has rejected both documents, saying the company “has not demonstrated due diligence” in preparing them. The company failed to provide enough information about landowners who could be affected by the hydropower project, and it didn’t document enough outreach with Tribes and state agencies.

Southeast Oklahoma Power Corporation could correct the issues and refile, but the project is off the table for now.

Plans for a similar hydroelectric power project were abandoned in 2022 after protests from the local community and official opposition from the Choctaw Nation.

Here is a link to a PDF that includes Southeast Oklahoma Power Corporation’s notice of intent and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s rejection. To read the pre-application and other documents related to the project, search for Docket No. P-14890 in FERC’s eLibrary.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

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