With respect to hydroelectric projects, FERC safeguards the environment by:

  • Ensuring that planned projects will minimize damage to the environment.
  • Requiring that all hydropower applicants communicate with federal and state Natural Resources agencies, Indian tribes, and state water quality agencies prior to submitting an application to FERC.
  • Ensuring that all license applicants perform the necessary studies to base an informed decision on the project.
  • Issuing draft Environmental Assessments (EAs) or draft Environmental Documents for comment. FERC makes electronic copies of the draft and final EISs available to the public. 
  • Incorporating license requirements designed to reduce environmental impacts.
  • Visiting projects that are requesting relicenses or license amendments. Scoping meetings are held to determine the most important environmental resources to address in an EA or EIS.
  • Maintaining a licensing handbook with guidelines for preparing Exhibit E, the environmental information exhibit required to be included with each application.

Third-Party Contractors

The Office of Energy Project's voluntary "third-party contracting" (3-PC) program enables applicants seeking certificates for natural gas facilities or licenses for hydroelectric power projects to fund a third-party contractor to assist the Commission in meeting its responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.

The 3-PC program involves the use of independent contractors to assist Commission staff in its environmental review and preparation of environmental documents. A third-party contractor is selected by, and works under the direct supervision and control of Commission staff, and is paid for by the applicant. Prospective applicants considering participation in this 3-PC program should meet with Commission staff to discuss their proposals, and to answer any questions they might have relative to the program itself.

Contact Information

This page was last updated on November 21, 2023