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US hydro industry files comment on Edwards dam

In an attempt to remove what has been described as a ‘cloud of legal uncertainty’ over the settlement of the Edwards dam case in the US, the national-hydropower-association (NHA) along with other non settling parties, has asked FERC to vacate its November Decommissioning Order, and then render moot its request for a rehearing.

The non settling parties have asked for the Commission to vacate the Decommissioning Order, in recognition that the Comprehensive Settlement itself now deals voluntarily with the decommissioning and removal issues covered in the earlier order ‘We fully support the voluntary transfer contained within the Comprehensive Settlement that was agreed in May by the stakeholders in the Edwards case,’ Linda Church Ciocci, executive director of NHA, said. ‘Given the changed circumstances bought about by the settlement, FERC must vacate the unfair and unauthorised November Decommis-sioning Order,’ she added.

The Comprehensive Settle-ment calls for the voluntary transfer of the Edwards dam licence to the State of Maine, which will then proceed to voluntarily decommission the project pending FERC approval of the deal.

Citing ‘negative consequences’ if the controversial Decommissioning Order is to remain standing, the industry interveners felt the order must be vacated or else their legal right to contest future orders could be in jeopardy. If the Commission does not take the action required by the industry representatives, it was hinted that future appeals in court may be made.

NHA has also been voicing the US hydro industry’s concern over the Clinton administration’s ‘disconnected’ policy on renewable energy. Church Ciocci said in July that she was ‘baffled’ by the Clinton restructuring plan which excludes hydro power from its Renew-able Portfolio Standard. NHA vowed to work with Congress to shape a restructuring bill more favourable to hydro.