§401 Certification of the Proposed Bear River Narrows Hydroelectric Project
Twin Lakes Canal Company has proposed building a dam on the Bear River in Franklin County. The 109-foot-tall dam would create a 4.5-mile-long reservoir in the Oneida Narrows Canyon with a storage capacity of 12,647 acre-feet.
According to Twin Lakes Canal Company, the purpose of the Bear River Narrows Hydroelectric Project is to provide additional irrigation water to its shareholders. The company cannot consistently deliver adequate water due to the lack of storage facilities and shortcomings of the existing water conveyance network. The company states the project will satisfying this need by (1) providing a physical location to store additional water that is geographically connected with the existing Twin Lakes water rights and water conveyance system and (2) creating a revenue source to fund improvements to conveyance facilities as needed to take advantage of existing water rights.
Twin Lakes Canal Company initially submitted an application for a preliminary permit to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in early 2004 and began license proceedings under FERC’s Integrated Licensing Process.
State certification is required before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) may license or relicense nonfederal hydroelectric dams. Twin Lakes Canal Company applied for certification in April 2014, but withdrew its application and submitted a new request for certification on January 14, 2015 and November 4, 2015. FERC issued its notice of “ready for environmental analysis,” which began the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and the development of an environmental impact statement (EIS). On October 8, 2015, FERC issued its draft EIS for the project, and after public comment, finalized it on April 27, 2016. In the final EIS, FERC staff recommended license denial. FERC denied the permit application on June 16, 2016, and DEQ informed the company on October 20, 2016, that it would no longer consider the company's request for §401 certification.
Chronology of Events
- April 10, 2014 - Twin Lakes Canal Company submits a §401 certification application to DEQ.
- January 5, 2015 – DEQ requests Twin Lakes Canal Company withdraw its §401 certification application request.
- January 14, 2015 – Twin Lakes Canal Company concurrently withdraws its application request and resubmits the same §401 certification application.
- November 4, 2015 – Twin Lakes Canal Company concurrently withdraws its application request and resubmits the same §401 certification application.
- June 16, 2016 - FERC denies Twin Lakes Canal Company's permit application.
- October 20, 2016 - DEQ informs Twin Lakes Canal Company that it will no longer consider the company's request for §401 certification.