American Rivers v. FERC

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201 F.3d 1186 (9th Cir. 1999) (American Rivers II)

Issue 1. Does the FPA require FERC to consider a pre-project baseline for purposes of environmental review?
Holding. FERC is not required to employ a pre-project baseline of the river’s
environment.

Issue 2. Does FERC have to consider denial of license as an action alternative?
Holding. Even though FERC must analyze a reasonable range of alternatives, it is not required to prepare a lengthy evaluation of denial of license if denial is not considered a reasonable alternative for a particular proceeding. FERC may identify the no action
alternative as continuing project operation under the terms and conditions of the current
license.

Issue 3. Can FERC reject or modify a section 10(j) recommendation?
Holding. Even though FERC must address each recommendation, FPA § 10(j) authorizes FERC to determine how to incorporate or reject each recommendation.

Issue 4. Can FERC reject a fishway prescription made pursuant to FPA § 18?
Holding. FERC may not modify, reject, or reclassify any § 18 prescriptions submitted by the Secretaries.

Related resource

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PUD No. 1 of Jefferson County v. Washington Dept. of Ecology

Issue. Did the Department properly condition the water quality certification for the project on the maintenance of minimum stream flows to protect salmon and steelhead runs?

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Hydropower Reform Coalition

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