Box Canyon License Issued


On July 11th, 2005, the Commission issued a new license for the Box Canyon Project on the Pend Oreille River in northeastern Washington and Idaho. The issuance brought a conclusion to the licensing phase of this project's extended history as a poster child for combative licensing processes. The license adopts mandatory conditions, including fish passage, submitted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Washington Department of Ecology, and the United States Forest Service.At the end of the license issuance, Chairman Wood and Commissioner Kelliher post their own opinions about the license. Within Kelliher's dissent is a strong statement about the importance of NEPA analysis providing a justification for federal agency action. The Coalition agrees that NEPA is a critical part of agency decisionmaking. NEPA provides for transparency, public accountability and independent assessment, and for ensuring that any action also considers alternative actions that may be more in the public interest.