Needed state, federal authorizations

Posted: Sunday, September 07, 2003

The Lake Dorothy Hydro project must be found consistent with standards of the Alaska Coastal Management Program before the following state and federal authorizations may be issued:

• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requires a permit for use of fill in the project and for placement of structures in navigable waters. The Corps is prepared to issue the permit, but it is contingent upon approval by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Alaska Coastal Management Program.

• The Alaska Department of Natural Resources' Division of Mining, Land and Water requires developers to obtain a tideland authorization to lease submerged land up to three miles out from shore. Once the ACMP review is complete Mining, Land and Water will conduct a preliminary determination and take public comments and then decide whether to issue a final authorization. Once the final decision is made, DNR can issue an early entry permit, which gives temporary authorization to construct and operate on state lands.

• The Alaska Water Use Act also requires the developer to obtain a permit to appropriate fresh water from lakes and streams from the Division of Mining, Land and Water. During or after the ACMP review, the division will hold a public comment period for 15 days. The division then will decide whether to issue a 10-year permit for use of the water. Any time during that 10-year period, if water is being used under the terms of the permit, the division will issue a permanent water right.

• Alaska Department of Natural Resources Office of Habitat, Management and Permitting requires a fish habitat permit to ensure free passage of anadromous and resident fish. The permit is expected to be issued following the ACMP review.

• The state Department of Environmental Conservations Division of Air and Water Quality issues a Certificate of Reasonable Assurance on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wetlands Dredge and Fill permit. Based on environmental and health risk criteria, DEC has decided not to certify or issue a permit for hydro projects or FERC licenses, so the agency will not issue a certificate for the Lake Dorothy project. However, DEC may issue a Certification of Reasonable Assurance if development, such as buildings and roads, fits into its criteria for protecting water quality.

• The U.S. Forest Service requires LDHI to obtain a special use permit in order to occupy land in the Tongass National Forest. The Forest Service will review an environmental assessment issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to determine whether to issue the permit. The permit is expected to be issued this fall.

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