What the 401 battle is all about: FERC and the states
The Federal Power Act (FPA) was enacted in 1935 to establish a broad and paramount federal regulatory role in the development of the nation's hydroelectric resources. The cornerstone of the FPA is 10(a), which requires the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to ensure that projects it licenses are "best adapted to a comprehensive plan" for the waterway. This mandate requires the Commission to equally consider all issues relevant to the public interest: energy demand and supply; conservation; protection, mitigation and enhancement of fish and wildlife resources; impacts on irrigation and water supplies; and recreation. The Commission must seek and consider the views of the states on all of these matters. Under the FPA, weighing these often conflicting considerations and determining what conditions a license should contain are the Commission's responsibility.