Dams

News & Analysis as of

A Scary Dam Cat

The February 12, 2017 emergency evacuation of nearly 200,000 California residents living in and around the town of Oroville, downstream from the Oroville Dam, was a stunning reminder of the ironic danger created by major...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - February 2017 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - Governor Brown wants to spend nearly $450 million on flood control following dam emergency - Sacramento Bee - Feb 24 - After successfully appealing to the Trump...more

Who Would Face Liability For Oroville Dam Management?

On Feb. 12, 2017, the Butte County, California, sheriff ordered the evacuation of more than 180,000 people in the communities surrounding California’s Oroville Dam after officials spotted severe erosion in the dam’s emergency...more

Managing Water Releases From Dams to Protect Fish: A Tale of Good Legislation and Bad Engineering

Earlier this week, the 9th Circuit found that the Bureau of Reclamation had authority under 1955 legislation to order additional releases of water to the Trinity River from the Lewiston Dam beyond the amount designated in an...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - February 2017 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Scott Pruitt confirmed to lead EPA - Los Angeles Times - Feb 17 - President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a climate-change...more

Oroville Dam evacuation and relicensing

A California dam in the midst of a federal relicensing process has experienced flooding and storm-related damage, prompting the evacuation of over 180,000 people. Evacuation orders and a reservoir drawdown represent the most...more

EPA FAQ on dam removal projects

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a document answering "Frequently Asked Questions" about the removal of obsolete dams. As noted by EPA, dams "provide important societal functions for drinking water...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - December 2016 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Trump picks Perry for top U.S. energy job - Reuters - Dec 15 - President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday named former Texas Governor Rick Perry to head the U.S. Department...more

Adding micro-hydro to licensed hydropower project

What happens when a FERC hydropower licensee applies for a preliminary permit to study the feasibility of developing a micro-hydro project, where the new project will be sited at an existing project's dam? In a recent case...more

Stop the Presses: Nuclear Power Still Does Not Emit Greenhouse Gases

On Monday, the TVA announced that Watts Bar Unit 2 had successfully completed what is known as its final power ascension test. It is now producing 1,150 MW of power in pre-commercial operation. Though EnergyWire did report...more

Renewable Energy Update - September 2016 #5

Renewable Energy Focus - California ramps up energy storage plans with enactment of four new bills - Renewable Energy World - Sep 28 - California Governor Jerry Brown on September 27 signed four new bills...more

Dam Safety Ad Hoc Committee Update - Public Policy Alert from the South Carolina State House

David Wilson from the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) addressed the Dam Safety Ad Hoc Committee to give members an update on the current status of dams across South Carolina. He informed the Committee...more

Federal dams, nonfederal hydro, and preliminary permits

Can a hydropower developer obtain a preliminary permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a project to be located at a federal dam, where the federal entity owning the dam says it opposes the project? In a...more

New Jersey FERC license surrender and dam removal

U.S. energy regulators have accepted an application to surrender the licensee for a New Jersey hydropower project. Earlier this month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accepted Great Bear Hydropower Inc.'s...more

Massachusetts Legislature Passes Compromise Energy Bill

Last Sunday, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a compromise energy bill to significantly increase electricity produced by renewable energy sources. The state’s utilities will be required to purchase power from on and...more

Massachusetts Legislature Passes Clean Energy Legislation

Overview - Late Sunday night, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a compromise energy bill that will significantly increase electricity produced by offshore wind, hydropower and other renewable energy sources. The...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - July 2016

Environmental and Policy Focus - South Coast AQMD plan would fight smog mainly through incentives, not rules - Los Angeles Times - Jun 30 - The South Coast Air Quality Management District's draft Air Quality...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - July 2016

Environmental and Policy Focus - Judge invalidates long-fought Delta management plan Sacramento Bee - Jun 24 - In a decision that could delay or complicate Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to build two huge...more

FERC rejects BOST1 preliminary permit application

If the holder of a preliminary permit under section 4(f) of the Federal Power Act to study the feasibility of a proposed hydropower project is denied a successive permit to study the same project at the same site, will the...more

FERC staff recommends against Bear River dam

Staff of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have recommended against licensing a dam, reservoir, and hydropower project proposed for the Bear River near Preston, Idaho. The case involves a 2013 application by...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - April 2016 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - Federal and state officials sign Klamath River dam removal deal - San Jose Mercury News - Apr 7 - The governors of California and Oregon and several other state, federal, power,...more

Federal dams and preliminary permits

U.S. federal entities own dams with untapped hydropower potential that could be developed by private parties -- but a recent regulatory decision highlights the difficulty of winning key approvals when the federal dam owner...more

Vanceboro Dam Storage Project relicensed

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a new license to Woodland Pulp LLC to continue operating and maintaining the Vanceboro Dam Storage Project. Located on the East Branch of the St. Croix River along the...more

Inflatable flashboards meet historic dam

A hydropower project in Lowell, Massachusetts won the right to replace wooden flashboards with an inflatable pneumatic crest gate system -- and now seeks to modify provisions requiring specific actions to mitigate impacts on...more

Waterbury hydro need and economics

A recent order issuing a new hydropower license to Green Mountain Power Corporation's Waterbury Hydroelectric Project sheds insight into the project's operations and economics. The Waterbury project is located at a dam...more

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