State Board passes deficient certification for Oroville

The State Water Resources Control Board, on December 15, 2010, approved a 401 water quality certification for the relicensing of the Oroville Facilities. The certification by the State Board is required before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission can issue a new license to operate the hydroelectric facilities at Oroville. The license is supposed to protect Feather River fisheries for 50 years.

CSPA made a presentation to the Board on December 15 which summarized four years of CSPA comment letters on the Oroville relicensing. CSPA argued that the 401 was unenforceable, and that it fails to: 

  • Assure adequate water temperatures in the lower Feather River
  • Provide for a cold water pool in Oroville Reservoir
  • Provide for contribution of the Feather River to Delta outflow and water quality
  • Clearly define and require mitigation for lost salmon habitat.

CSPA’s presentation was followed and supported by an attorney representing Butte County.

In concluding, CSPA proposed additional technical analysis, followed by a supplemental EIR and a new draft 401. The Board instead only slightly modified language regarding mitigation for lost spawning habitat. CSPA and Butte County have until January 14, 2011 to petition the Board for reconsideration.

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