This paper reviews the AWARE™ software distributed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The program is designed to facilitate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license renewal process for US hydropower installations. The discussion reviews the regulatory, legal, and social contexts that give rise to the creation and distribution ofAWARE™. The principal legal impetus for AWARE™ is the Electric Consumer Protection Act (ECPA) of 1 986 that directs FERC to give equal consideration topower and nonpower resources during relicensing. The software is reviewed in this paper from several perspectives including those of natural resource economics, systems modeling, and the social context within which FERC licensing decisions are made. We examine both the software and its underlying methodology and find significant problems with each. Because of its flaws, AWARE™ does little to further ECPA's equal consideration requirement. We And that the conservation and restoration impact of ECPA for US fisheries could be seriously hampered by the widespread use of AWARE™.
This comment explores the legal theory behind the FPA to demonstrate that environmental protection has been an inherent aspect of the hydropower licensing process. Secondly, the attempt of the 1986 ECPA amendments to coerce greater FERC consideration of fish and wildlife values into the procedure is evaluated. Finally, the future of hydropower licensing is examined in the context of policy decisions embodied in the final rule.
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