18 CFR 5.26 - Section 10(j) process.
(a) In connection with its environmental review of an application for license, the Commission will analyze all terms and conditions timely recommended by fish and wildlife agencies pursuant to the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act for the protection, mitigation of damages to, and enhancement of fish and wildlife (including related spawning grounds and habitat) affected by the development, operation, and management of the proposed project. Submission of such recommendations marks the beginning of the process under section 10(j) of the Federal Power Act.
(b) The agency must specifically identify and explain the recommendations and the relevant resource goals and objectives and their evidentiary or legal basis. The Commission may seek clarification of any recommendation from the appropriate fish and wildlife agency. If the Commission's request for clarification is communicated in writing, copies of the request will be sent by the Commission to all parties, affected resource agencies, and Indian tribes, which may file a response to the request for clarification within the time period specified by the Commission. If the Commission believes any fish and wildlife recommendation may be inconsistent with the Federal Power Act or other applicable law, the Commission will make a preliminary determination of inconsistency in the draft environmental document or, if none, the environmental assessment. The preliminary determination, for any recommendations believed to be inconsistent, shall include an explanation why the Commission believes the recommendation is inconsistent with the Federal Power Act or other applicable law, including any supporting analysis and conclusions and an explanation of how the measures recommended in the environmental document would adequately and equitably protect, mitigate damages to, and enhance, fish and wildlife (including related spawning grounds and habitat) affected by the development, operation, and management of the project.
(c) Any party, affected resource agency, or Indian tribe may file comments in response to the preliminary determination of inconsistency, including any modified recommendations, within the time frame allotted for comments on the draft environmental document or, if none, the time frame for comments on the environmental assessment. In this filing, the fish and wildlife agency concerned may also request a meeting, telephone or video conference, or other additional procedure to attempt to resolve any preliminary determination of inconsistency.
(d) The Commission shall attempt, with the agencies, to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of any such inconsistency, giving due weight to the recommendations, expertise, and statutory responsibilities of the fish and wildlife agency. If the Commission decides, or an affected resource agency requests, the Commission will conduct a meeting, telephone or video conference, or other procedures to address issues raised by its preliminary determination of inconsistency and comments thereon. The Commission will give at least 15 days' advance notice to each party, affected resource agency, or Indian tribe, which may participate in the meeting or conference. Any meeting, conference, or additional procedure to address these issues will be scheduled to take place within 90 days of the date the Commission issues a preliminary determination of inconsistency. The Commission will prepare a written summary of any meeting held under this paragraph to discuss section 10(j) issues, including any proposed resolutions and supporting analysis, and a copy of the summary will be sent to all parties, affected resource agencies, and Indian tribes.
(e) The section 10(j) process ends when the Commission issues an order granting or denying the license application in question. If, after attempting to resolve inconsistencies between the fish and wildlife recommendations of a fish and wildlife agency and the purposes and requirements of the Federal Power Act or other applicable law, the Commission does not adopt in whole or in part a fish and wildlife recommendation of a fish and wildlife agency, the Commission will publish the findings and statements required by section 10(j)(2) of the Federal Power Act.