Box Canyon License History & Documents
On October 8, 1951, Pend Oreille PUD filed an application with the Federal Power Commission (“FPC”) for the construction and operation of the Box Canyon Hydroelectric Project (the “Project”). The FPC issued the PUD’s first license for the Project on February 5, 1952. You can read the 1952 FPC order issuing the license by clicking here.
The PUD applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) for a new license in January 2000. The Kalispel Tribe of Indians (“Tribe”), U.S. Department of Interior (“Interior”), U.S. Forest Service (“Forest Service”), Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Department of Ecology (“Ecology”), the State of Idaho, and other entities intervened. The PUD operated the Project pursuant to annual licenses from the time the 1952 license expired in January 2002 until July 11, 2005.
On July 11, 2005, FERC issued a new 50-year license for the Project (the “2005 License”). You can read the 2005 FERC order issuing the new license by clicking here.
The 2005 License contains conditions mandated by FERC, the U.S. Department of Interior, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The 2005 License also contains Water Quality 401 Certificates issued by the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Environmental Protection Agency.
In August 2005, the PUD, Ponderay Newsprint Company (“PNC”), Interior, the Forest Service, and others sought rehearing of the License order before FERC. On November 17, 2006, FERC issued an order revising the License. You can read the 2006 FERC order on rehearing by clicking here.
2009 Settlement Agreement
After FERC issued its November 17, 2006 order revising the 2005 License, litigation ensued by multiple parties related to various aspects of the license. The parties to that litigation entered into a settlement agreement on January 28, 2009 (the “2009 Settlement Agreement”), which proposed revised appendices and conditions to the 2005 License. FERC approved the revised appendices by an order issued February 19, 2010. You can read the 2009 Settlement Agreement by clicking here.
2019 Proposed Amended Settlement Agreement and Off-License Settlement Agreement
The PUD and Tribe began meeting in early 2014 to consider options for a path forward to provide a better focus on conservation outcomes. The parties to the 2009 Settlement Agreement have successfully negotiated an Amended Settlement Agreement and are in the process of seeking FERC approval of the license amendments included as part of the agreement. The amendments would remove the obligation for the PUD to construct downstream fish passage at Box Canyon Dam, as well as both upstream and downstream fish passage at Calispell Creek Pumping Plant, for the duration of the 2005 License. The Amended Settlement Agreement would also seek to resolve longstanding litigation over water quality issues in both the Pend Oreille River and Calispell Creek. You can read the proposed Amended Settlement Agreement by clicking here.
Connected to the Amended Settlement Agreement, the PUD and Tribe have negotiated an Off-License Settlement Agreement, which provides funding to the Tribe to establish watershed and conservation programs. These programs will be regularly monitored by the PUD and other members of the Technical Resources Committee, which currently oversees implementation of the License requirements. You can read the proposed Off-License Settlement Agreement by clicking here. You can also read a fact sheet summarizing the Amended Settlement Agreement and Off-License Settlement Agreement by clicking here.