Property Rights Foundation of America®

4. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
(Latest update 2001)

Office of Hydopower Licensing
888 First Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20426
(202) 219-2700

Web site:

Organizational Description and Goals

Administers relicensing of dams under the Federal Power Act (16 USC 791-828c) and its implementing regulations (18 CFR Parts 4 and 16). The Federal Power Act was amended in 1986 to give "equal consideration" to impacts on energy conservation, fish and wildlife and recreation, but under NEPA considerations such as impact o n local communities and economies also require consideration.

FERC recognizes that property owners' and other local considerations have equal weight to those of environmental groups and government environmental departments such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the New York State DEC.

Comments (2000)

FERC's policies appear to be meant to be fair to property rights and local issues in connection with dam relicensing, but the groups in the American Rivers coalition have dominated the citizen participation aspects of the dam relicensing process. These environmental groups have used the dam relicensing process for such extreme objectives as acquiring "land for dams" and the actual removal of existing dams. In Maine, environmentalists led by American Rivers and Trout Unlimited have triumphed in the re-licensing process by dictating the removal of the Edwards Dam on the Kennebec River in Augusta, Maine.

In New York, environmental intervenors in a consortium including American Rivers, the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, Residents' Committee for Protection of the Adirondacks, National Audubon Society, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter and Natural heritage Institute (an international not-profit environmental legal action organization based in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.) have succeeded in their demands for the disposition of 15,000 acres of lands of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation in the Raquette River basic in Hamilton County.

Local interests and property rights groups are just beginning to participate in the FERC process, with the Rainbow Falls dam owned by New York State Electric and Gas Corporation on the Ausable River, which is up for relicensing in 2002.

FERC lists the following dams in northern New York for relicensing between 1998 and 2010:

Palmer Falls (Hudson River, International Paper Co.—2000)
Stewarts Bridge (Sacandaga River, Niagara Mohawk Power Corp.-2000)
Carry Falls Res. (Raquette River, Niagara Mohawk Power Corp.-2002 )
Raquette (Raquette River, Niagara Mohawk Power Corp.-2002)
Fowler No. 7 (Oswegatchie River, Hydro Dev. Group, Inc.-2002)
Rainbow Falls (Ausable River, N.Y. State Electric & Vas Co.-2002)
Hailsboro No. 4 (Oswegatchie River, Hydro Dev. Group, Inc.-2002)
Keuka (Mud Creek, N.Y. State Electric & Gas Co-2003)
St. Lawrence-F.D. Roosevelt (Power Authority State of N.Y.—2003)
Newton Falls (Oswegatchie River, Newton Falls, Inc.-2004)
Piercefield (Raquette River, Niagara Mohawk Power Corp.-2005)
Saranac (Saranac River, N.Y. State Electric & Gas Co.-2006)
Macomb (Salmon River, Niagara Mohawk Power Corp.-2006)
R. Moses (Niagara River, Power Authority State of N.Y.-2007)

For additional information about how to intervene and participate in the FERC relicensing process, see the Property Rights Foundation of America reprint, "How To—Becoming a Formal Participant and Intervenor in the FERC Dam Relicensing Process," and the publications of FERC and American Rivers.

Update-2001: The ability of grassroots property rights groups to participate in the relicensing of the Rainbow Falls Dam reached insurmountable obstacles in the extremely lengthy mandatory participation process, which was brought about by the request of the environmental players. The participatory process was elongated over and over, making it impossible for grassroots groups without paid staff to reiterate and refine their viewpoints relevant to the supposed details at every stage, particularly as their viewpoints were arbitrarily ruled out of order while environmental considerations (apparently dictated by wildlife agencies)that were fraudulent were granted credence and determined the directions to proceed forward.

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