A decision is due
by the end of September. It will lay out the
rules, in effect, under which the traditional
relicensing procedure will take place before
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service in Sacramento, said the hearing is a
way for both sides to agree on facts.
“Right now the
field is full of ‘You said this and we
disagree.’ The judge will clear the field out
so he can look more clearly at what’s right
and what’s wrong,” Pitts said.
For example, she said one recommendation from
the Fish and Wildlife Service calls for fish
ladders and screens to be installed at
the dams to improve fish passage. The judge
won’t decide whether that’s appropriate or
not, Pitts said, but he could rule on details
about each method.
A decision on
whether Pacifi-Corp is relicensed, and what
conditions might be imposed if it is, won’t
come for some time. Pacifi-Corp spokesman Dave
Kvamme said FERC won’t issue a final
Environmental Impact Statement until 2007.
this month’s hearing are treading on new
ground. Only one other such hearing has been
held nationwide since the federal Energy
Policy Act of 2005 amended the relicensing
process, Pitts said.
from PacifiCorp, conservation groups, Tribes,
and a host of governmental agencies have been
holding “settlement meetings” aimed at finding
areas of agreement.
acceptable to all factions can be found, FERC
probably would given the consensus package its
blessing rather than making a ruling of its
own, Kvamme said. There are wide differences
of opinion on fish passage and other topics,
but he hasn’t given up finding a group
“We really hope
we can reach an agreement in the settlement
process,” Kvamme said.
current license was issued in 1956.