Relicensing and environmental issues affecting hydropower
This article presents and overview of the hydropower industry and summarizes two recent events that have greatly influenced relicensing and environmental issues. First, the US Supreme Court's May 1994 Tacoma decision raised fundamental questions about who has the authority to relicense hydroelectric power plants. Second, under the Endangered Species Act, Federal agencies are required to ensure that their actions do not jeopardize protected species and their habitat. The impact of the Act has been particularly significant recently for the federally owned facilities in the Pacific Northwest that are presently under streamflow restrictions aimed at aiding endangered local fish populations.