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U.S. again to extend commenting on water project feasibility studies

WASHINGTON 12/7/11 (PennWell) -- The Bureau of Reclamation plans to revise its draft directive and standard for performing feasibility studies of proposed water resources projects and will call for additional comments beginning in January.

Reclamation's most recent deadline for comments on the first draft was Nov. 25, extended from Oct. 21.

The agency said it is incorporating changes into the original draft based on comments received to date. The updated draft is to be made available in January at which time a new 90-day comment period will begin.

Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations in 17 western states. Its water project purposes include hydroelectric power, water supply, irrigation, flood control, navigation, recreation, and fish and wildlife enhancement.

The updated standards establish responsibilities, requirements, and procedures for performing detailed planning studies, including feasibility studies conducted for the purpose of recommending congressional action, including approval, authorization, or appropriations.

Changes from existing standards include an extended definition of "feasibility level" to establish general expectations for data collection, technical and scientific analysis, design, and cost estimating. They also include an independent review facilitated by Reclamation's Office of Policy and Administration, as well as criteria for considering and analyzing climate change effects.

The draft directive and standard may be obtained from Reclamation's Internet site under http://on.doi.gov/qUPZPo.


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