On February 7, 2008, The Utah Board of Water Resources was granted a Preliminary Permit by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission). 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)

The Utah Division of Water Resources released the Draft Study Reports and Preliminary Licensing Proposal (PLP) for the Lake Powell Pipeline Project (FERC Project No. 12966) on December 1, 2015. 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 can be settled. FERC made the decision that they only have jurisdiction of the hydro power plants now the comment period has started again and the deadline is November 19, 2018.

FERC denied the state’s petition on jurisdiction September 20, 2018. They explain their decision.

“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.”

However, this could stall the process again with more studies.  There will be a 60 day comment period. Then a 45 day response to comments. Then within 180 days FERC will issue a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS); then the public has 60 days to comment; FERC responds to comments in 45 days; then in 90 days FERC makes it final decision on the EIS.

If the project EIS is approved with a Record of Decision in early 2019 they will finalize the design and by 2020 Pipeline construction starts, it will take at least 4 years to complete 2024. 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.