The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is enforcing shoreline management rules decades after hydroelectric projects were first developed. Retroactive rules are irrational, without reason, or scientific basis. The burden of this regulation far out weights any public benefit. The impact on surrounding communities cannot be exaggerated as FERC rules are discouraging private investment, lowering property values, killing jobs, limiting access to project waters, inhibiting landowner’s ability to sell, violating Federal, State and local ordinances, and trampling on personal property rights. FERC is ignoring Executive Order 13563 and the 11 July 2011 supplemental order for Independent Agencies. Wise regulatory decisions depend on careful analysis of the likely consequences of regulation.
Response to Petition
By Lauren Azar
Thank you for signing the petition "Curb FERC regulations, which overreach and overregulate the shorelines of its hydroelectric projects," and your input on our Nation's water resources.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is an independent regulatory agency, meaning that while FERC is part of the executive branch of the federal government, it is independent of presidential control, with substantial discretion in carrying out the Federal Power Act's mandate that private hydropower projects it approves be best adapted to the comprehensive development of waterways.
The statute requires the Commission to take into account all public interest considerations, including interstate and foreign commerce, waterpower development, the protection of fish and wildlife, irrigation, flood control, water supply, and recreation.
Commission licenses and shoreline management plans, which set forth the guidelines under which licensees regulate the lands and waters under their stewardship, focus in substantial part on environmental protection and public recreational access.
Potential private development in areas near project waters must be balanced with the public interest.
In many cases, such development is fully consistent with the needs of the public and can be a major benefit to the local economy and community.
The Commission's practice is to require licensees to develop licensing proposals and shoreline management plans in consultation with stakeholders, including the local community and local, state, tribal, and federal agencies.
Where the stakeholders reach consensus, the Commission generally approves the resulting development plans.
Where stakeholders believe that over the term of a project license, specific aspects of the license or of a shoreline management plan are not meeting their needs, they may always file requests that the Commission alter the relevant requirements.
Lauren Azar is Senior Advisor to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Department of Energy