FERC ILP guide to help stakeholders draft hydro study requests

WASHINGTON 4/13/12 (PennWell) -- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a guide to its Integrated Licensing Process to help stakeholders draft requests for pre-licensing studies by hydropower license applicants.

FERC began evaluating the effectiveness of the ILP process in 2010. The agency convened representatives of the various parties to the hydroelectric licensing process in November 2010 to discuss the effectiveness of the ILP, which was created to provide a more streamlined and efficient means of obtaining a license.

"The Integrated Licensing Process, developed in consultation with the hydro industry, state and federal agencies, tribes, and non-governmental organizations, is designed to ensure that the information needs are known before a license application is filed through a commission-approved study plan," the new guide states. "The approved study plan brings, to the extent possible, pre-filing finality to the identification of the information and studies needed for commission staff to prepare its environmental document and for participants to make recommendations and provide terms and conditions."

FERC acknowledged it is difficult to reach agreement on studies in some cases. It noted most comments it received during its ILP evaluation focused on the study plan development process and the need for greater clarity on how the commission applies its study criteria in evaluating study requests.

The ILP guide outlines the criteria a study request must address, including goals and objectives, relevant resource management goals and public interest considerations, existing information and need for additional information, and project "nexus," the connection between the project and its potential effect on the applicable resource.

The document, "A Guide to Understanding and Applying the Integrated Licensing Process Study Criteria," may be obtained from FERC's Internet site under http://www.ferc.gov/industries/hydropower/gen-info/guidelines/guide-study-criteria.pdf.

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