SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE -

A bill sponsored by Congressman Robert Hurt would attempt to address complaints about how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission makes decisions regarding the lake and its residents.

Currently FERC regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas and oil, but the problem for residents is when FERC wants to regulate things like boating docks.

“FERC is giving AEP authority to regulate the shoreline. What's really the issue is, if that federal agency does not have the authority to have that power to regulate state and local government, how can they make a licensee do it?” said homeowner Bill Brush.

Appalachian Power's lake operation is licensed through FERC, which also manages the lake's shorelines. It's also responsible for approving a shoreline management plan.

Hurt says the management plan is reviewed about every 10 years.

“It's my hope that in the future that if this bill is passed they will be required to consider the rights of private property owners along the lake,” said Hurt.

Property owners say if they want to build a dock, they have to get permission from Appalachian Power. Appalachian Power says it's out of their control. They just follow the rules that are approved by FERC.

“Anything that goes on within that project is under the control of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,” said Larry Jackson, spokesperson for Appalachian Power.