Energy Regulation:

Allegations Concerning the Development of Fishways at Hydropower Projects

RCED-88-186: Published: Jul 28, 1988. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 1988.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined allegations concerning the development of fishways at three hydropower projects, specifically that: (1) the Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks overruled the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regarding Federal Power Act requirements for the development of fishways at two projects; (2) the Assistant Secretary planned to approve the third project over FWS objections; (3) the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) questioned the Secretary of the Interior's authority to prescribe fishways under the Federal Power Act; and (4) FERC officials prepared one or more draft letters for Interior's signature regarding the fishways issue, including the withdrawal of a motion to intervene in one case.

GAO found that: (1) Interior adequately provided for fishways at the three projects; (2) FERC acted within the scope of its authority with respect to the three projects; (3) FERC correctly acknowledged that it must require licensees to implement fishways requirements as Interior prescribes them; and (4) there was no indication that FERC intended to impede FWS activities.

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