More Dam Process: Relicensing of Dams and the 2005 Energy Policy Act
The Advocate: Official Publication of the Idaho State Bar, Vol. 50, No. 6/7, July 2007
80 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2008
Date Written: June 2007
Every hydropower facility in the Nation not operated by the federal government must obtain an operating license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) if that facility affects interstate commerce, navigable waterways, or meet other criteria. . . . License renewal, called "relicensing," occurs only once every 30 to 50 years. Each time a license is issued or renewed the process provides an opportunity for any interested stakeholder to earn legal standing and influence the terms of the next license. Because a license term lasts for decades, dams seeking license renewal today were effectively grandfathered from complying with existing environmental laws and standards. Thus, relicensing is a significant opportunity to address a hydropower dam's environmental footprint and to weigh the commitment of watershed resources for another 30 to 50 years.
Keywords: hydropower, Energy Policy of 2005, FERC relicensing, water law
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