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Hells Canyon Complex Hydroelectric Project

Several hydroelectric facilities located in Idaho are in, or soon will be in, the process of obtaining new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licenses, including Idaho Power Company’s (IPC’s) Hells Canyon Complex consisting of the Brownlee, Oxbow, and Hells Canyon hydroelectric projects on the Snake River between Idaho and Oregon. Constructed from 1955 to 1967, the project encompasses 95 river miles. IPC received a FERC license (#P-1971) on August 4, 1955, with an expiration date of July 31, 2005. IPC initiated the FERC’s relicensing process by submitting a Final License Application on July 29, 2003.

Pursuant to the Clean Water Act Section 401, state certification is required before the FERC may license or relicense nonfederal hydroelectric dams. IPC worked with DEQ starting in 2003 to provide appropriate and adequate information on the 401 certification application. Between 2003 and 2018, IPC submitted 19 application requests to DEQ providing the agency with updated information necessary to ensure that a project the size of the Hells Canyon Complex could be thoroughly vetted and understood. On June 14, 2018, IPC submitted the final application. DEQ reviewed IPC’s water quality certification application and held a public comment period on the draft water quality certification from December 14, 2018, to February 12, 2019. On May 24, 2019, Idaho, and Oregon DEQ each issued a Final Section 401 Water Quality Certification. Idaho’s 401 Certification provided below will be included with the reissuance of the FERC license.

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Date Event
Between 2003 through June 14, 2018 IPC submits 19 water quality certification application requests.
May 24, 2019 Oregon and Idaho DEQ issue Final Section 401 Water Quality Certifications.
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