Conference to examine California hydropower issues

Issues of California hydropower development and regulation are to be the focus May 10 of California Hydroelectric Projects, a conference organized by the Seminar Group.

To be held at San Francisco’s Le Meridien hotel, the second annual conference is designed for lawyers, planners, energy professionals, engineers, and environmentalists.

Conference sessions are to examine the Federal Power Act, alternative energy sources, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulation, Endangered Species Act compliance, and hydro-related administrative procedures initiated by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Michael P. O’Connell, of the law firm Stoel Rives LLP of Seattle, is to present an update on legislative, judicial, and administrative actions affecting California hydro projects. Additionally, Director J. Mark Robinson of FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, is to discuss FERC settlement guidelines. (HNN 9/25/06)

Michael A. Swiger, of Washington law firm Van Ness Feldman, is to explain the Cushman decision, in which a federal appeals court declared FERC has unilateral power to shut down a hydro project, either directly or by imposing costly conditions that could cause a licensee to reject a new license. (HNN 8/23/06)

Hal LaFlash of Pacific Gas &Electric Co. and Peter d. Mostow of Stoel Rives, are to talk about new alternative energy sources, focusing on ocean energy. FERC established an interim process in February for handling permit applications for wave, current, and in-stream hydropower technologies. (HNN 2/15/07)

A session on ESA compliance and fisheries restoration is to include a panel discussion of North Fork Feather River projects in California. A draft environmental impact statement last year proposed the California Department of Water Resources pay $584 million over 50 years for new recreation and environmental measures for relicensing its 762-MW Oroville Facilities downstream on the Feather River (HNN 10/4/06)

Another panel, featuring speakers from NOAA Fisheries, the Interior Department, Southern California Edison Co., and Washington law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, will concentrate on the first projects to utilize new administrative procedures under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The law allows hydro operators and other parties to challenge resource agency mandatory conditions that are imposed on FERC licenses. Recent cases have involved PacifiCorp’s 161-MW Klamath project in Oregon and California (HNN 2/2/07) and Avista Corp.’s 14.75-MW Post Falls project in Idaho. (HNN 1/12/07)

For information or to register, contact the Seminar Group, P.O. Box 523, Vashon, WA 98070; (1) 206-463-4400; Fax: (1) 866-435-3444; E-mail:; Internet:


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