P-2146 et al.

Commission staff prepared a final supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) that supplements a final Environmental Assessment (EA), issued December 31, 2009, for the proposed relicensing of Alabama Power Company’s Coosa River Hydroelectric Project No. 2146.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency participated as a cooperating agency to prepare the final SEIS.

On July 28, 2005, Alabama Power Company filed an application for a single new license to continue to operate and maintain three separately licensed projects that include seven developments:  (1) the Coosa River Project (FERC Project No. 2146), which includes the Weiss, H. Neely Henry, Logan Martin, Lay, and Bouldin Developments; (2) the Mitchell Dam Project (FERC Project No. 82); and (3) the Jordan Dam Project (FERC Project No. 618).  The projects are located on the Coosa River in Cherokee, Etowah, Calhoun, St. Clair, Talladega, Shelby, Coosa, Chilton, and Elmore Counties, Alabama, and Floyd County, Georgia.  The projects occupy about 508.31 acres of federal land administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and 5.75 acres of federal land administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

On June 20, 2013, the Commission issued a new 30-year license to Alabama Power Company for the continued operation and maintenance of the project.  The license combined all three projects into one 969.9-megawatt project, the Coosa River Hydroelectric Project.  On April 21, 2016, the Commission issued an order granting rehearing in part and providing clarification on the June 20, 2013 license order.  On September 12, 2016, the Commission issued a subsequent order denying rehearing of the April 21, 2016 order.  American Rivers and Alabama Rivers Alliance jointly petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (court) for review of the Commission’s June 20, 2013 license order and both rehearing orders.  On July 6, 2018, the court issued an opinion vacating and remanding the new license back to the Commission for further proceedings consistent with the opinion.  The final SEIS addresses the following issues identified by the court as needing further analysis and expands upon the analysis contained within the final EA for these issues:  (1) dissolved oxygen; (2) fish entrainment and turbine mortality; (3) federally threatened and endangered species; and (4) cumulative effects. 

The primary issues associated with relicensing the project are:  (1) regulation of reservoir elevations; (2) downstream flooding; (3) project operation during periods of drought; (4) flow regimes in project-affected reaches of the mainstem Coosa River; (5) water quality; (6) fishery resources and fish passage; (7) threatened and endangered species; (8) recreation resources; and (9) shoreline management.

In the final SEIS, Commission staff recommended the staff alternative, which consists of issuing a new license that includes measures proposed by the applicant, mandatory conditions included in Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s water quality certification, incidental take terms and conditions of the Biological Opinion submitted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), recommendations made by state and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations, and additional staff-recommended measures.


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This page was last updated on October 06, 2023