[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 105 (Wednesday, June 2, 1999)]
[Notices]
[Page 29634]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-13902]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
[Project No. 1354]


Pacific Gas & Electric Company California; Pacific Gas & Electric 
Company's Request To Use Alternative Procedures in Filing an Amendment 
to a Hydroelectric License Application

May 26, 1999.
    By letter dated May 11, 1999, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) 
asked for Commission approval to use an alternative procedure in filing 
an amended application for the 26.7-megawatt Crane Valley Project. PG&E 
has demonstrated that it made a reasonable effort to contact the 
resource agencies, Indian tribes, non-governmental organizations 
(NGOs), and others who may be affected by their proposal, and has 
submitted a communication protocol governing how participants in the 
proposed process communicate with each other. PG&E believes there is a 
consensus on using the alternative process. PG&E's request to use an 
alternative process says the United States Forest Service, the 
California Department of Fish and Game, Madera County, and the Madera 
County Irrigation District have indicated their agreement.
    The purpose of this notice is to invite comments on PG&E's request 
to use the alternative procedure, as required by section 4.34(i)(5) of 
the Commission's regulations. Additional notices seeking comments on 
specific project proposals, interventions and protests, and recommended 
terms and conditions will be issued at a later date.
    The alternative procedure combines the prefiling consultation 
process with the environmental review process and allows the applicant 
to file an Applicant-Prepared Environmental Assessment (APEA) in lieu 
of Exhibit E of the amended license application. This differs from the 
traditional process, in which the applicant consults with agencies, 
Indian tribes, and NGOs during preparation of the application for the 
license and before filing it, but the Commission staff performs the 
environmental review after the application is filed. The alternative 
procedure is intended to simplify and expedite the licensing process by 
combining the prefiling consultation and environmental review processes 
into a single process, to facilitate greater participation, and to 
improve communication and cooperation among the participants. The 
alternative procedure can be tailored to the project under 
consideration.

Alternative Process and the Crane Valley Project Schedule

    In 1996 PG&E began a process of amending its application for a new 
license for the Crane Valley Project. Because the changes PG&E proposes 
are material changes, the Commission required PG&E to meet the 
consultation requirements of section 16.8 of the Commission's 
regulations. Since then, PG&E has been working collaboratively with the 
various interested entities to identify issues and environmental 
enhancement measures needed at the project. PG&E held public meetings 
on May 17, 1999 to receive public input and identify what, if any, 
additional studies are needed. The Commission may schedule additional 
public scoping meetings and issue scoping documents to fulfill its 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) responsibilities. Notice of 
any such scoping meetings would be published at least 30 days prior to 
the meetings.
    Based on completing any required studies during the Summer of 1999, 
a draft amended license application with preliminary APEA would be 
distributed by PG&E for comment in April, 2000. The final amended 
license application and APEA would be filed with the Commission by June 
30, 2000.

Comments

    Interested parties have 30 days from the date of this notice to 
file with the Commission, any comments on PG&E's proposal to use the 
alternative procedures to file an amended application for the Crane 
Valley Project.

Filing Requirements

    Any comments must be filed by providing an original and 8 copies as 
required by the Commission's regulations to: Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, Dockets--Room 1A, 888 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 
20426.
    All comment filings must bear the heading ``Comments on the 
Alternative Procedure,'' and include the project name and number (Crane 
Valley Hydroelectric Project, No. 1354-000). For further information, 
please contact Charles Hall at (202) 219-2853 or e-mail at 
charles.hall@ferc.fed.us.
Linwood A. Watson, Jr.,
Acting Secretary.
[FR Doc. 99-13902 Filed 6-1-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-M