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Federal Power Act (FPA) 16 U.S.C. 791a establishes relicensing objectives and the authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and resource agencies.

Code of Federal Regulations 18 CFR Part 16 sets out how the relicensing process works.

FERC and licensee jurisdiction are limited the area within the project boundary. For Catawba-Wateree, the project boundary is the full pond contour plus land around the powerhouses and dams.


Beneficial Public Uses:
A project approved by FERC must be "…best adapted to a comprehensive plan for improving or developing a waterway or waterways for the use or benefit of interstate or foreign commerce, for the improvement and utilization of waterpower development, for the adequate protection, mitigation, and enhancement of fish and wildlife (including related spawning grounds and habitat), and for other beneficial public uses, including irrigation, flood control, water supply, and recreational and other purposes…" In doing so, FERC must give equal consideration to power and non-power values.
FPA Section 10(a)(1) and FPA Section 4(e)

Equal Consideration:
Equal consideration does not mean equal outcome. It just means that FERC has to consider impacts on fish and wildlife, etc… This consideration does "not give environmental factors preemptive force. First, FERC still is charged with determining the "public interest," i.e., balancing power and non-power values. Even where the fish and wildlife agencies make formal section 10(j) recommendations, those agencies have no veto authority."
DC Circuit Court, 1992

Pre-Project Conditions:
FERC does not have to use pre-project conditions as an environmental baseline in considering relicense applications. FERC has stated that relicense applicants don't have to do studies or base mitigation on pre-project conditions (ie; the conditions that existed before the hydro projects were built).
9th Circuit Court, DC Circuit Court, FERC Order 513

Need for Studies:
Studies required by the FERC have to be supported by substantial evidence and licensees cannot be required to conduct studies to determine if a problem exists in the absence of some evidence that a problem exists.
DC Circuit Court

Project Operations:
License conditions have to have a nexus to project operations. It is not appropriate to include in a license provisions requiring environmental enhancements as to matters unrelated to the project.
Numerous FERC Public Meetings and License Decisions

Jurisdiction Limit:
FERC's jurisdiction "is limited to land and water within the project boundary." "…development activities upland of the project boundary…" are not under FERC jurisdiction. FERC has also rejected earlier requests to extend its jurisdiction beyond the boundary to deal with out-of-project issues.
FERC 2000 order approving Duke's Revised Shoreline Management Classification Maps

Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) does not regulate development:
"Neither the classification maps nor the SMP itself are intended to replace local planning and zoning efforts. The controls established by the project license, the 5-year re-evaluation process for the Shoreline Management Plan, local land use plans, zoning regulations, other local ordinances, and building permit requirements should collectively minimize environmental impacts from development."
FERC 2000 order approving Duke's Revised Shoreline Management Classification Maps