FERC released a policy statement on October 19, 2017, revising its longstanding approach to setting the license terms for hydroelectric projects.  The new policy establishes a default term of 40 years for non-federal projects, which can be shortened or extended in certain identified circumstances.  According to Section 6 of the Federal Power Act, the term of a license may not exceed 50 years — the Act sets no minimum license term.  It has been FERC’s policy to set a 50-year term for licenses issued to federal projects and to base the license term for non-federal projects on the level of redevelopment, new construction, or environmental mitigation and enhancement slated for the project.  For projects involving little to no activity, FERC has set a 30-year term, for a moderate amount of activity, a 40-year term, and for extensive activity, a 50-year term.

Continue Reading FERC Issues Policy Statement Extending License Terms for Hydro Projects

On August 28, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Army (Army) published a Federal Register notice announcing that the agencies will hold ten teleconferences to hear from stakeholders on recommendations to revise the definition of ‘‘Waters of the United States’’ or “WOTUS” under the Clean Water Act. Nine of the teleconferences will be stakeholder specific calls, i.e., agriculture (row crop, livestock, silviculture); conservation (hunters and anglers); small entities (small businesses, small organizations, small jurisdictions); construction and transportation; environment and public advocacy (including health and environmental justice); mining; industry (energy, chemical, oil/gas); scientific organizations and academia; and stormwater, wastewater management, and drinking water agencies. One of the teleconferences will be open to the general public.

Continue Reading EPA and Army Schedule Public Meetings on Revisions to Definition of WOTUS