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FERC issues first license using integrated licensing process

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Dec. 17 issued its first hydroelectric license using the Integrated Licensing Process (ILP) to PPL Montana for its 11.25-MW Mystic Lake project in Montana.

The process, created to provide a more streamlined and efficient means of obtaining a license, coordinates FERC's work with that of other federal agencies, Indian tribes, non-governmental organizations, and the public. (HNN 3/14/06)

FERC issued the relicense order within one year of the application being filed. It grants PPL Montana authority to continue to operate Mystic Lake, on West Rosebud Creek near Fishtail, Mont., for another 40 years. (HNN 10/30/07)

�The timeliness of today's decision proves the effectiveness of the new Integrated Licensing Process,� FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher said. �I commend all the parties involved for their commitment to the process.�

The relicense requires PPL Montana to construct public recreation facilities near Mystic Lake (No. 2301) and to enhance flows for whitewater boating. The order also requires PPL Montana to install new shutoff and minimum-flow valves to improve minimum flow reliability to protect fish in a bypassed reach. Other requirements would protect, mitigate, and enhance water quality, fisheries, wildlife, and cultural resources at the project, FERC said.

The new process allows a license applicant's pre-filing consultation and FERC's environmental scoping to be conducted concurrently, rather than sequentially. FERC approved final rules for the new process in July 2003 and the ILP became the default licensing process two years later. Prior to July 23, 2005, applicants could choose to use the traditional or integrated processes, or seek authorization to use the alternative licensing process.

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