How the Office of Hydropower Licensing Resolved Seven Recent Relicensing Disputes

by Lee Emery, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Washington, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Waterpower '91: A New View of Hydro Resources


In May 1989, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) issued relicensing regulations in Order No. 513 to (1) help licensees whose hydropower licenses were about to expire to prepare acceptable license applications and (2) make changes in the relicensing provisions of the Federal Power Act (Act) required by the Electric Consumers Protection Act (ECPA). About 170 hydropower projects--many of them built more than 50 years ago--are scheduled to be relicensed by 1993. Since the regulations became effective on July 3, 1989, the Office of Hydropower Licensing (OHL) has processed seven requests for resolution of disputes. These seven disputes involved 17 hydropower projects--about 10 percent of the projects with licenses expiring in 1993--in Alabama, Maine, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. All the disputes dealt with fishery issues. The disputes covered a wide range of issues--disagreement over whether studies should be conducted for the introduction of anadromous fish above a project, the need for entrainment and mortality studies, the need for habitat based studies, whether a dam should be removed, whether cumulative impact studies should be conducted, whether final functional designs for fish passage facilities and screens should be provided by the licensees. The outcome of the seven disputes was mixed: the Director of OHL sided with the licensees on some issues and with the resource agencies on others. This paper discusses the resolution of the seven disputes and the effects these decisions had on parties involved in relicensing.

Subject Headings: Licensure and certification | Hydro power | Dispute resolution | Project management | Fish and fishery management | Federal government | Electric power | Laws and regulations | United States | Alabama | Maine | Oregon | Washington | Wisconsin

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