FERC

FERC

On February 7, 2008, The Utah Board of Water Resources was granted a Preliminary Permit by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Project No, 12966, for a period of three years to study and investigate the feasibility of the proposed project. It has been 10 years and the studies are still not considered complete. (see article)

On December 1, 2015 the Utah Board of Water Resources released the Draft Study Reports and Preliminary Licensing Proposal (PLP) for the Lake Powell Pipeline Project (FERC Project No. 12966). The finalized PLP will become part of Exhibit E. within the Hydropower License Application filed December 11, 2017.

FERC gave a Notice of Acceptance that the studies are ready for Environmental Analysis December 11, 2017. However, the state stopped the process until jurisdiction issues on the pipeline alignment could be settled. The state wanted FERC to have jurisdiction over the whole pipeline.  However, FERC made the decision that they only had jurisdiction of the hydro power plants on the pipeline. The comment period started again and the deadline for comments was November 19, 2018.

FERC denied the state’s petition on jurisdiction September 20, 2018. They explained their decision as follows:

“Furthermore, there are sound policy reasons supporting this limited interpretation of our licensing jurisdiction.  Large water delivery projects such as the Lake Powell Pipeline Project arguably present attempts to use the Commission’s hydropower authority to construct large amounts of pipeline that are unrelated to power production, and perhaps to take advantage of the eminent domain authority and federal preemption of inconsistent state requirements that a Commission license provides.  They could also involve the Commission in regional controversies that are not directly within the scope of its responsibilities.  By not asserting jurisdiction over these large water delivery projects, the Commission leaves to other state and federal authorities decisions regarding the purpose of and need for the water delivery project, the preferred route for the pipeline, and its cost and financial feasibility; matters that are far removed from the limited purpose of the hydroelectric power developments to be located in and along the pipeline.”

“For all of these reasons, we find that the Commission’s licensing jurisdiction is limited to the discrete hydroelectric facilities to be located in and along the water delivery pipeline of the Lake Powell Pipeline Project, and does not extend to the water delivery pipeline itself.  We therefore deny the petition.”

What’s Next?

  • The Utah Board of Water Resources will respond to comments by January 19, 2019.
  • Within 180 days (August 2019) FERC will issue a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
  • The public has 60 days (Oct 8, 2019)to comment on draft EIS
  • FERC responds to comments in 45 days
  • In 90 days FERC makes its final decision on the EIS (May 2020)

If the project EIS is approved with a Record of Decision in early 2020 they will finalize the design and Pipeline construction starts, it will take at least 4 years to complete. Water deliveries expected to begin after construction is completed.

 Press release on project 2015.

Click here: Lake Powell Pipeline White Paper 2-10-17

Citizen toolbox on Effective Participation in FERC Licensing

Click Here: How to Comment to FERC

To submit FERC Comments select Docket file # P-12966-004

 See FERC Documents, studies and comments 2008-2016 under Water/ FERC Studies on our Home Page.