The Licensing Process
YEAR 1 (5 years prior to license expiration)
The dam owner sends FERC a notice of “intent to file” a new license and a Pre-Application Document (PAD) containing all existing and relevant project information. The PAD also contains a proposed study plan. FERC will hold a public site visit and meeting that formally begins its scoping process for the environmental analysis.
The public may comment on the PAD, the draft study plan and FERC’s scoping document, which will form the backbone of information that FERC will use to determine protection and enhancement measures for the new license. The public may also participate in the process to determine the final study plan.
The dam owner conducts studies for at least two field seasons to gather information about the project’s impact. One year into studies, the dam owner holds a public meeting to discuss study results and potential study plan modifications. The dam owner files a Preliminary Licensing Proposal.
The public has an opportunity to comment on studies and the Preliminary Licensing Proposal and request additional studies.
The dam owner must file an application for a new license two years before the current one expires. FERC begins drafting the environmental analysis and agencies file preliminary recommendations, terms and conditions. At this time, all stakeholders have the opportunity to request trial-type hearings to dispute issues of material fact and propose alternatives to certain agency conditions.
Within 60 days of FERC’s notice that the application is ready for environmental analysis, stakeholders should formally file for “intervenor status.” The public may also comment on all FERC and agency filings including draft conditions and the draft environmental analysis.
FERC completes its environmental review and agencies submit final resource recommendations. Mandatory conditions from authorized agencies are incorporated into the final FERC analysis. FERC issues or denies the license.
The public may comment on all draft and final documents. All formal intervenors can protest the final license.