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Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur Statement
June 18, 2015
Docket No. P-13212-004
Item No. H-3
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Statement of Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur on The Grant Lake Project

“In today’s order, the Commission denies Kenai Hydro’s request to maintain, for only approximately six more months from the date of this order, development priority for the site of its proposed Grant Lake Project while Kenai Hydro finalizes work on its license application. The Commission concludes that granting Kenai Hydro’s request would violate the Commission’s policy against site banking, which seeks to prevent entities that are unwilling or unable to develop a site from maintaining the exclusive right to develop it. I do not agree that this policy requires the denial of Kenai Hydro’s request, as I believe that the Commission has the discretion and authority under the Federal Power Act to grant Kenai Hydro’s extension, and that Kenai Hydro has amply demonstrated both its willingness and ability to develop the site. Over the course of its second preliminary permit, and despite being able to meaningfully access the site only a few months each year, Kenai Hydro conducted on-site biological studies on aquatics, water quality/quantity, terrestrial resources, recreation, visual resources, and cultural resources. Kenai Hydro then evaluated the study data and compiled study reports which were submitted to the Commission over the summer of 2014. Kenai Hydro offered opportunities for public comment on these surveys in November 2014, before the end of its secondary preliminary permit. That work culminated in Kenai Hydro filing its draft license application with the Commission on March 27, 2015, in anticipation of submitting a license application by the end of 2015.

“The Commission’s action today – which unnecessarily exposes Kenai Hydro to the potential loss of license application priority for the Grant Lake Project site – will not encourage the development of new hydroelectric facilities, nor will it further the Commission’s policy against site banking, given the limited duration of Kenai Hydro’s request and its significant progress towards the filing of a license application mere months from now.

“Accordingly, I respectfully dissent.”