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Statement: June 18, 2009 Print this page
Docket Nos. P-2454-091 and P-12606-000

Commissioner Moeller's statement on New License for Spokane River Hydroelectric Project

"I am pleased to vote today for the relicensing of the five developments that make up the Spokane River Hydroelectric Project. Having grown up on a ranch near Spokane, I can heartily attest to the beauty of the great State of Washington and the importance of this project as a significant source of renewable power in the region. Today, we issue a single license for continued operation and maintenance of five developments that span three counties in Washington and two counties in Idaho, and occupy almost 6,000 acres of lands that are part of the Coeur d'Alene Reservation.

I commend Avista, the Coeur d'Alene tribe, and the Department of Interior for working to resolve, through hard work and negotiation, long-standing issues related to the effects on tribal lands and the past and future use of submerged lands. Their hard work puts to rest disputes that reach back to the early twentieth century.

Licensing a project involves balancing the various attributes of a river system. Hydropower production, fish protection and recreation are the most obvious. Many river systems also offer flood protection, drinking water, irrigation, and commercial navigation. In the case of the Spokane Project, the aesthetic attributes of this beautiful river are also enhanced by this license through requirements of minimum flows.

As a child I held a season pass to "Expo '74," the World's Fair based in Spokane. The fairgrounds were located around the Spokane River with a focus on the needs of the world's environment. Today's order balancing the various attributes of the Spokane River system honors the legacy and theme of Expo '74."

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