Oregon Statutes - Chapter 543 - Hydroelectric Projects - Section 543.017 - Minimum standards for development of hydroelectric power; public interest considerations; rules.

(1) In order to carry out the policy set forth in ORS 543.015, the following minimum standards shall apply to any action of the Water Resources Commission relating to the development of hydroelectric power in Oregon:

(a) The anadromous salmon and steelhead resources of Oregon shall be preserved. The commission shall not approve activity that may result in mortality or injury to anadromous salmon and steelhead resources or loss of natural habitat of any anadromous salmon and steelhead resources except when an applicant proposes to modify an existing facility or project in such a manner that can be shown to restore, enhance or improve anadromous fish populations within that river system.

(b) Any activity related to hydroelectric development shall be consistent with the provisions of the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program providing for the protection, mitigation and enhancement of the fish and wildlife resources of the region as adopted by the Pacific Northwest Electric Power and Conservation Planning Council pursuant to Public Law 96-501.

(c) Except as provided in this paragraph, no activity may be approved that results in a net loss of wild game fish or recreational opportunities. If a proposed activity may result in a net loss of any of the above resources, the commission may allow mitigation if the commission finds the proposed mitigation in the project vicinity is acceptable. Proposed mitigation that may result in a wild game fish population, or the fishery the wild game fish population provides, being converted to a hatchery dependent resource is not acceptable mitigation. A water dependent recreational opportunity must be mitigated by another water dependent recreational opportunity. Mitigation of water dependent recreational opportunities that, in the judgment of the commission, are of statewide significance with a recreational opportunity that is readily available on other waters of this state is not acceptable mitigation. In deciding whether mitigation is acceptable, the commission shall consult with other local, state and federal agencies.

(d) Other natural resources in the project vicinity, including water quality, wildlife, scenic and aesthetic values, and historic, cultural and archaeological sites, shall be maintained or enhanced. No activity may be approved that, in the judgment of the commission after balancing gains and losses to all affected natural resources, may result in a net loss of natural resources. In determining whether the proposed activity may result in a net loss of natural resources, the commission may consider mitigation if the commission determines the proposed mitigation in the project vicinity is acceptable. Mitigation may include appropriate measures considered necessary to meet the net loss standard. In determining whether mitigation is acceptable, the commission shall consult with appropriate state, federal and local agencies.

(e) In determining whether it is in the public interest to allocate water for a proposed hydroelectric development, the commission shall consider present and future power needs and shall make a finding on the need for the power. For a hydroelectric project with a nominal electric generating capacity of 25 megawatts or more, the Water Resources Commission shall consider any recommendation by the Energy Facility Siting Council. The Energy Facility Siting Councilís recommendation shall be based solely on information contained in the hearing record of the Water Resources Commission. The commissionís order on the proposed hydroelectric development shall describe the Energy Facility Siting Councilís recommendations on the need for the power. If the commissionís decision on the need for power is contrary to the Energy Facility Siting Councilís recommendation, the commissionís order shall explain the commissionís failure to follow the recommendation of the Energy Facility Siting Council. The commission also shall consult with the Energy Facility Siting Council on other matters within the expertise of the Energy Facility Siting Council.

(2) The commission shall adopt all necessary rules to carry out the policy set forth in ORS 543.015 and to implement the minimum standards set forth in subsection (1) of this section. In the absence of implementing rules, any action of the commission relating to hydroelectric development shall comply with the standards as set forth in this section.

(3) Nothing in this section limits the authority of any state agency to make recommendations regarding appropriate license conditions during the consideration of the issuance of a license or permit for an existing hydroelectric project. [1985 c.569 §3; 1993 c.544 §6; 1995 c.229 §2; 2007 c.71 §176]

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Last modified: August 7, 2008