33 CFR 221.1 - Investigation and supervision of hydropower projects under the Federal Power Act (ER 1140-2-4).
(a) Purpose. This regulation 1 establishes procedures for executing Corps of Engineers functions under the authority of the Federal Power Act (FPA) administered by the Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), formerly Federal Power Commission. Based on a specific request from FERC, these functions include:
1 This regulation supersedes ER 1140-2-4, 8 December 1967, and ER 1140-2-2, 10 September 1965.
(1) Investigation of applications filed with FERC for permits and licenses, and for relicensing of projects to ascertain impacts on Corps of Engineers responsibilities.
(2) Investigation of applications for surrender or termination of license to ascertain impacts on Corps of Engineers responsibilities.
(3) Supervision and inspection of operations of licensed hydroelectric projects to ascertain impacts on Corps of Engineers responsibilities.
(b) Applicability. This regulation applies to all field operating agencies having Civil Works responsibilities.
(c) References. (1) Federal Power Commission publication entitled “Federal Power Act”, as amended, dated 1 April 1975. The Act was originally enacted 10 June 1920 (41 Stat. 1063, 16 U.S.C. 791-823). This publication can be obtained from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.
(2) Code of Federal Regulations, Title 18, part 1 to 149 relating to FERC General Rules and Regulations, available at the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.
(3) ER 1145-2-303 (33 CFR 209.120), 2 Permits for Activities in Navigable Waters or Ocean Waters.
(4) ER 1140-2-1, Submission of Data for Headwater Benefits Determination.
(d) Definitions -
(1) Licensed project. A non-Federal hydroelectric project for which the FERC has issued a license granting authority for either construction, in the case of a proposed project, or for continued operation and maintenance of an existing project.
(2) Major projects. Hydroelectric projects with more than 2,000 horsepower installed capacity.
(3) Minor projects. Hydroelectric projects having installed capacity of 2,000 horsepower or less.
(4) Preliminary permit application. An application filed by a non-Federal entity with the FERC as a preliminary step in anticipation of filing for a license to construct and operate a hydroelectric project. A preliminary permit does not authorize construction. It merely gives the permittee priority of application for a FERC license over other non-Federal entities for a period of time. The permittee then develops information necessary for inclusion in an application for license to construct and operate a hydroelectric project. Analysis of this information may result in a decision to apply for the license or to withdraw the intent.
(5) Relicensing. A procedure applicable to projects for which the original period of license (usually 50 years) will expire or has expired and application for new license has been or will be filed with the FERC.
(6) Take over. An act whereby the Federal government assumes project ownership. Upon expiration of a license for a hydroelectric project, the United States, under certain specific conditions set forth in section 14 of the Federal Power Act may “take over”, maintain and operate the project. This does not apply to any project owned by a State or local government. Take over procedures are not applicable to “Minor Projects.”
(e) Authorities. The Federal Power Act as amended delegates to the Secretary of the Army, the Chief of Engineers and the Corps of Engineers certain functions necessary for the FERC's administration of the Act. Implementation was provided through instructions issued by the President in a letter dated 18 May 1931 to the Secretary of War. These functions are set forth in the following excerpts from the Act:
(1) Section 2 of the Act provides in part that:
The Commission may request the President to detail an officer or officers from the Corps of Engineers, or other branches of the United States Army to serve the Commission as engineer officer or officers * * *.
(2) Section 4(e) of the Act provides in part that:
The Commission is hereby authorized and empowered * * * to issue licenses to citizens of the United States, or to any associations of such citizens, or to any corporation organized under the laws of the United States or any State thereof, or to any State or municipality for the purpose of construction, operating, and maintaining dams, water conduits, reservoirs, powerhouses, transmission lines, or other project works necessary or convenient for the development and improvement of navigation and for the development, transmission, and utilization, of power across, along, from or in any of the streams or other bodies of water over which Congress has jurisdiction * * *.
* * *Provided that no license affecting the navigable capacity of any navigable water of the United States shall be issued until the plans of the dam or other structures affecting navigation have been approved by the Chief of Engineers and the Secretary of the Army.
(f) Investigation of application for permits, licenses, or relicensing of projects. Upon referral by the FERC, the Chief of Engineers will assign the investigation of an application for permit, license or relicensing to the appropriate Division Engineer who will submit a report on the investigation as specified herein to HQDA (DAEN-CWE-HY) WASH DC 20314 (exempt from reports control, Paragraph 7-2y, AR 335-15). The investigation should be coordinated with all interested organization elements including Engineering, Construction/Operations, Planning and Office of the Counsel. The date that the report is to be submitted will be specified. The nature of investigation and report by the Division Engineer will depend upon the nature of the request from the FERC. In general, reports as appropriate for the type of application filed with the Commission will consider the following items as pertinent and will include recommendation of pertinent license provisions:
(1) License applications. (i) The effect of the project on navigation and flood control, including adequacies of the plans of the structures affecting navigation. Section 4(e) of the Federal Power Act provides for approval of plans for hydroelectric power projects as noted in paragraph (e)(2) of this section. Section 4(e) approval normally will obviate the need for a Department of Army permit under section 10 of the 1899 River and Harbor Act. The basis for Corps approval under section 4(e) will be limited to effects on navigation; however, section 4(e) does not obviate the need for a Department of the Army permit pursuant to section 404 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (see paragraph (i)(2)) of this section. Such a permit is subject to a full public interest review pursuant to 33 CFR part 320 and the application of the Environmental Protection Agency's guidelines in 40 CFR part 230.
(ii) Recommendations for license provisions required to protect the interest of navigation. This item is discussed under paragraphs 7, 8 and 9.
(iii) Consideration of the project in relation to a comprehensive plan for developing the basin water resources from the standpoint of the Corps of Engineers' programs and responsibilities. Specific references should be made to pertinent published Congressional documents containing results of studies and/or to Congressional resolutions directing studies to be made to provide identification.
(iv) Consideration of environmental aspects of a project as related to navigation and flood control matters or other specific Corps interests and responsibilities in particular cases.
(v) The matter of possible redevelopment of an existing project to improve the usefulness of the project in relation to the objectives of the Corps program in the basin. In the case of an unconstructed project, based on request from the Commission, a recommendation along with justification, should be included as to whether or not development should be undertaken by the United States.
(vi) Consideration of structural safety and adequacy of spillway design flood for FERC licensed projects are the responsibility of the FERC. The Dam Safety Act, Pub. L. 92-367 provides that dams constructed pursuant to license issued under the authority of Federal Power Act are specifically exempted from the Corps National inspection program. This does not preclude the Corps District and Division offices from making comments on license applications for the FERC information, about any design deficiencies that are brought to their attention.
(2) Relicensing (new license) application. (i) Consider paragraphs (f) (1) through (6) of this section.
(ii) Recommendations should be furnished to the FERC with respect to possible need for “take over” of a project by the Federal Government. Details on “take over” under the Federal Power Act are provided in part 16 of the CFR, title 18 (part 1 to 149). A copy of part 16 is provided for ready reference in appendix A of this part.
(iii) FERC Preliminary Permit Application. Consider appropriate recommendations to insure coordination of applicant's studies with the Division or District Engineer in cases where responsibilities and interests of the Corps of Engineers would be affected. The report should include discussion of Corps interests which could result in recommendations for provisions to be included in a subsequent license. In general proposed construction of power facilities at or in conjunction with a Corps reservoir project will be reviewed with the objective of recommending design, construction and operation factors that the applicant must consider in its studies in order for the proposed power development to be compatible, physically and economically, with the authorized function of the Corps project(s).
(g) Terms and conditions for insertion in FERC permits and licenses. In investigation of an application for FERC license or permit, consideration will be given to aspects of the project affecting authorized functions of the Corps as well as to the responsibilities assigned to the Corps by the Federal Power Act. Accordingly, the Division engineer in his report on an application to the Chief of Engineers will always consider the necessity for including in any license or permit terms and conditions to protect the interests of navigation. Recommendations involving other responsibilities of the Corps in the area of water control management such as flood control, low flow augmentation minimum instantaneous releases, and other purposes should also be considered.
(h) Standard terms and conditions used by the FERC in its permits and licenses. Appendix B to this Regulation includes standard terms and conditions used by the FERC in licenses for projects affecting navigable waters of the U.S. The standard articles, included in appendix B, are identified by the FERC in the following Forms:
(1) Form L-3 (Revised October 1975)
Terms and Conditions of License for Constructed Major Project Affecting Navigable Waters of the United States.
(2) Form L-4 (Revised October 1975)
Terms and Conditions of License for Unconstructed Major Project Affecting Navigable Waters of the United States.
(i) Distinction between Corps of Engineers and FERC jurisdiction with respect to non-Federal Hydroelectric projects. (1) The following procedures are currently being followed in connection with Department of Army permit responsibilities involving pre-1920 legislation:
(i) In regard to FERC licensing of projects, Corps responsibilities under section 10 of the River and Harbor Act of 1899, for power related activities, may normally be met through the FERC licensing procedure including insertion of terms and conditions in the license of the interest of navigation. Section 4(e) of the Federal Power Act provides for approval of plans of project works by the Chief of Engineers and Secretary of the Army from the standpoint of interests of navigation. The consideration for our approval under section 4(e) will be limited to effects of project power related activities on navigation.
(ii) Applications to Corps Divsion or District Engineers for approval of repairs, maintenance or modification of non-Federal water power projects authorized under River and Harbor Acts as well as special Acts of Congress prior to 1920, or requests for advice with respect thereto should be referred to the FERC for consideration in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Power Act. The permittee should be advised that the application is being referred to the FERC for consideration and that if a FERC license is required Corps recommendations will be furnished to the FERC.
(2) Responsibilities under section 404 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act as amended in 1972 (33 U.S.C. 1151) pertinent to discharge of dredged or fill material into the navigble waters at specified disposal sites will be met only through the Department of Army permit procedures as specified in ER 1145-2-303. In regard to FERC cases involving section 404, our report to the FERC through (DAEN-CWE-HY) will specify the need for a Department of Army permit (section 404) if, on the basis of the Division and District Engineers' reports, such permit is deemed necessary. A Department of the Army permit will be required for any portion of a proposed project which involves the discharge of dredged or fill material into the waters of the United States. This includes the placement of fill necessary for construction of a project's dam and appurtenant structures.
(3) When applicable, FERC will be advised that the requirement for Department of the Army permit pursuant to section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 for the transport of dredged material from the project site for the purpose of dumping it into the ocean waters will be met only through the Department of the Army permit program.
(4) In connection with FERC licensed projects there may be proposed non-power water oriented activities, such as recreational development, which are associated with the overall project but may not be a part of the hydroelectric power facilities at the project. Such cases, if involving navigable waters should be reviewed from the standpoint of need for a section 10 permit. Such section 10 permit actions would involve consideration of the overall public interest, including water quality, fish and wildlife, recreation, general environmental concerns and the needs and welfare of the people. Corps responsibilities for permit requirements under section 10 of the River and Harbor Act of 1899 for nonpower activities affecting navigable waters at the FERC projects will be met only through the Corps permit procedures. The Corps' report to FERC through (DAEN-CWE-HY) will specify the need for such permit when recommended by the Division and District Engineers' report.
(j) Investigation of applications for surrender or termination of license. The period of the FERC license for hydroelectric projects is usually 50 years. During and/or upon the expiration of the period of a license, a licensee may file with the FERC an application for surrender or termination of its license. These applications may encompass requests for physical removal of an existing dam and/or powerhouse structures from a stream. Division Engineers who would be assigned by the Chief of Engineers to review such applications will consider, in their review and report to DAEN-CWE-HY, the possibility that sediment discharge resulting from removal of a dam structure from a navigable river or from any site that may affect navigable waters would impair the anchorage and navigation and/or flood carrying capacity of the stream. In cases where there is a possibility of significant downstream shoaling (sedimentation) as the result of removal of a dam and its appurtenant structures, recommendation may be made to the FERC, through DAEN-CWE-HY, requiring licensee as a condition of approval of dam removal to agree to bear the expense for removal of any shoaling at the navigable river(s) which would be determined by the Corps to be detrimental to navigation. Other recommendations to be considered include gradual lowering of a dam over a period of time and/or possibility of sediment removal prior to dam removal. It should also be noted that a Department of the Army permit under section 404 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act amendments of 1972 (33 U.S.C. 1151), as discussed in Paragraph 9b of this regulation, may be needed in connection with removal of dams on or affecting the navigable waters if a discharge of dredged or fill material also occurs during the removal operation. Other recommendations within the Corps authority that should be considered in reviewing applications for surrender or termination of licenses for projects where their power facilities have been removed, or recommended for removal, is that upon any approval of such application by the FERC, continuation of existence of the nonpower project on or affecting the navigable waters of the U.S. will require a Department of the Army permit in compliance with section 10 of the River and Harbor Act of 1899. Furthermore, it should be noted that in the absence of FERC nonpower use license, pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 808(b), the structural safety and maintenance of dam and reservoir for a nonpower project will be governed by the laws and regulations of the State in which the project is located.
(k) Supervision and inspection of operation of licensed hydroelectric projects. Corps Division and District Engineers responsibilities with respect to any project affecting navigable waters include surveillance of operation and maintenance to insure that the interests of navigation are not adversely affected. In addition, in certain cases the Corps, at the request of the FERC, may act as agent for the FERC for overall supervision of project operation and maintenance. Corps Division Engineers have, in the past, represented the FERC in supervision and inspection of a number of FERC licensed projects within their respective divisions. The Commission by letter dated March 4, 1976 relieved the Corps of Engineers from acting as the Commission's representative for supervision and inspection of its licensed projects. This responsibility has been transferred by the Commission to its own regional engineers. There are no requirements for any periodic or annual reports from the Division offices regarding the operation of FERC licensed hydroelectric projects. However, Division Engineers will report to DAEN-CWE-HY on a current basis any significant detrimental effects with respect to Corps of Engineers responsibilities or other matters which come to their attention.
(l) Safety of licensed hydroelectric projects. The Dam Safety Act, Public Law 92-367, provides that dams constructed pursuant to licenses issued under the authority of the Federal Power Act are specifically exempted from the national inspection program administered by the Corps. However, the law further provides that the Secretary of the Army upon request of the FERC may inspect dams which have been licensed under the Federal Power Act. The Commission by letter dated August 29, 1972 informed the Corps that the Commission does not expect to request the Corps' assistance for inspecting the projects licensed under the Federal Power Act.
(m) Supervision of construction of licensed hydroelectric projects. In cases where the FERC may request the Corps to supervise the actual construction of licensed hydroelectric project on behalf of the Commission, instructions will be furnished to the appropriate District Engineer through the Division Engineer at the time the request is made.
(n) Other investigation under the Federal Power Act. Corps of Engineers operations under the Federal Power Act also include participation in FERC procedures in determining headwater benefits from Corps reservoir projects (RCS, 1461-FPC). This matter is discussed in ER 1140-2-1.
(o) Funding of operations under the Federal Power Act. (1) The salaries of the Corps of Engineers personnel involved in investigations discussed herein will be charged against funds for “Special Investigations” under the appropriation for “General Expenses.” The FERC may provide reimbursement if requested by the Chief of Engineers to cover the nonpersonal expenses which may be incurred in the investigation and supervision of projects under permits and licenses.
(2) Non-personal costs amounting to less than $100 for any single investigation will not be reimbursed from the Commission funds but will be charged also to “Special Investigations” under the appropriations for “General Expenses.” Each Division Engineer charged with a detailed investigation of an application for license or the supervision of a project that will require more than a nominal amount of nonpersonal costs will be specifically requested to submit an estimate of the funds required upon assignment of the work by the Chief of Engineers.
(3) Reimbursement from the FERC funds for nonpersonal costs in excess of $100 will be made by the Chief of Engineers upon submission of a voucher on Standard Form 1080 by the District Engineer through the Division Engineer. The voucher will show the fiscal year during which the work was done and the Commission project number on which the money was spent.