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FERC Licensing Proceeding Environmental Study Life Cycle

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Dataset Overview

This dataset summarized the back-and-forth of study submittals and issuances for seven licensed hydropower projects presented as case studies in Aldrovandi et al. (2021), leveraging information from six of the seven case study projects documented in Pracheil et al. (2019). This information was mined from documents containing information on environmental studies conducted for US federal hydropower licensing. Documents included were found in the FERC eLibrary and was summarized and presented in Aldrovandi et al. (2021).  A description of the types of documents used in this dataset can be found in Aldrovandi et al. (2021). The figure above shows the map with 29 projects described in Aldrovandi et al. (2021). Blue dots represent the 23 projects assessed in this FERC Licensing Environmental Study Determination Dataset. The red dots represent the other projects assessed in Aldrovandi et al. (2021) that are included in the FERC Licensing Proceeding Environmental Study Life Cycle Dataset.

This dataset was developed to support the guidance documentation for the Environmental Decision Support Tool that was created as part of the Environmental Decision Support project. This project created conceptual frameworks such as the River Function Indicators (Pracheil et al. 2019) that were used to organize the environmental impacts of hydropower. These indicators were then used to structure a set of questions about project and ecosystem characteristics designed to determine the list of environmental impacts linked to project operations and maintenance that may require further study or mitigation. Data in this dataset represent a summary of data in the Detailed Dataset of Environmental Studies from Aldrovandi et al. (2021)

To create this dataset, we first documented project characteristics, natural resource issues, and the types of environmental studies that were conducted from documents collected from the FERC eLibrary including biological opinions, biological assessments, additional information requests, notices of intent and/or preliminary application documents; draft and final license applications; license orders; license terminations; license transfers; license amendments; comments; contentions; surveys; requests and orders; health advisories; responses to orders, issuances, and comments; agency recommendations; agency prescriptions; programmatic agreements; settlement agreements; study plans; operation and monitoring reports; compliance filings; inspection reports; recreation reports; environmental reports; motions; interventions; Form 80 s; time extensions; and miscellaneous filings. We recorded and attributed the qualitative information contained in issuances and submittals from regulators/agencies, other stakeholders, stakeholders, license applicants and FERC regarding environmental studies, as well as the timing of common events, information on approval rates, study types, study and RFI category, dates of entries, and requesting entity in a spreadsheet. We then created this summary dataset from the Detailed Dataset of Environmental Studies from Aldrovandi et al. (2021) dataset, collating all entries about an individual study so it is clear which studies were requested and approved for each project.