CSPA and Allies Seek Supplemental DEIS on Yuba River Hydroelectric Projects

CSPA, Trout Unlimited and American Rivers filed a motion on June 21 that asks the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to account for the reintroduction of anadromous fish in the South Yuba and Middle Yuba rivers. The motion asks FERC to issue a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the relicensing of the Yuba-Bear and Drum-Spaulding projects. The current DEIS for relicensing fails to analyze current and future project effects on cold water habitat for spring-run Chinook salmon and steelhead, despite the reasonable and foreseeable reintroduction of these threatened species into project-affected reaches of the Yuba watershed.

The motion argues that both the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Power Act require FERC to address the long-term effects of relicensing the projects. In order to issue a license best suited to a comprehensive plan for the duration new project licenses, FERC must address anadromous fish habitat in the upper Yuba River watershed before issuing the Final Environmental Impact Statement.

“Licensees Nevada Irrigation District and PG&E have improperly manipulated process to exclude consideration of issues relating to reintroduction of anadromous fish upstream of a key Central Valley rim dam,” said CSPA’s FERC Projects Director Chris Shutes. “FERC has enabled this exclusion. We tried for five years to negotiate such issues in relicensing, and plan to further negotiate with these licensees and others in the Yuba Salmon Forum. But in the meantime we cannot allow FERC’s truncated interpretation of comprehensive planning and its perfunctory analysis of alternatives under NEPA to stand without challenge.”

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