Nebraska utility seeks Emergency Motion for Stay and Request for Rehearing on FERC new license

Neal Suess, Loup River Public Power District chief executive officer, said the district has filed an “Emergency Motion for Stay,” and will move forward with a “Request for Rehearing” in conjunction with the new license issued on May 22 for the 53.4-MW Loup River hydroelectric project in Nebraska.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in its “Order Issuing New License,” included provisions the project owner disputes.

The Loup River Public Power District operates the project (FERC No. 1256) that comprises the 7.8-MW Monroe and the 45.6-MW Columbus powerhouses. Both Columbus and Monroe are located on a canal system that diverts water from the Loup and Platte rivers in Nance and Platte counties.

A portion within the new 30-year FERC license mandates the following:

  • The project must cease generating hydropower once real-time water temperatures have met or exceeded 93-degrees Fahrenheit, as reported by the U.S. Geological Society (USGS) gage, located at Louisville, Neb.; 
  • Generation can only continue 72-hours after the water temperature falls below 93 degrees at the USGS gage; and 
  • The utility must notify the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of any reported fish kills in the Platte River Bypassed Reach or Lower Platte River.

The Fish and Wildlife Service thinks the measures are necessary and appropriate to minimize impacts of incidental take of pallid sturgeon.

In April, according to information released by the Loup district, Suess indicated the district was working on the “Emergency Motion for Stay” and “Request for Rehearing” associated with the expected outcome of the license order from FERC.

No information is available on whether a stay has been granted.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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