FERC may lead all federal authorizations during hydropower licensing
If passed, H.R. 3043 (Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017) and S. 1460 (Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017) would designate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the lead agency for coordinating all federal authorizations required during the licensing process. This is in addition to directing the FERC to establish new guidelines for hydroelectric project license terms.
These two bills identify FERC as the lead agency for coordinating all federal authorizations within the licensing process. This includes allowing FERC to be the lead agency for complying with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.
This change is expected to result in early and more efficient identification and resolution of issues that arise during the relicensing process. In practice, this could significantly reduce the potential for additional studies to be completed after the final license application has been filed.
It is great to see our federal legislators taking a serious look at improving the hydropower licensing process. I’m hopeful these bills will pass as currently drafted as these improvements to the process will help so many of our hydropower clients.
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