Project 2105 License Group (2105LG) Approved Meeting Summary
November 18, 2005
Call to order: Patti Kroen, Facilitator at 10:10 a.m.
Attendees, Agenda, and Past Meeting Summary: See Attachment 1 for list of attendees that signed in. The attendees introduced themselves and approved the meeting agenda with the addition of an update on the Interim Final Rules included in the Energy Policy Act and an update on the thermal curtain discussion at the October Rock Creek-Cresta ERC meeting. PG&E distributed a letter they sent to FERC clarifying the report submitted under License Article 401(b) and Condition 4D on the Rock Creek-Cresta Project and explained that the letter clarifies that the submitted report is a PG&E product, reflecting only PG&E’s views (Attachment 2). PG&E also provided FERC with a revised cover sheet for the report and a text substitution on page 67 of the report from “best scientific information available” to “best information available”. Everyone with a copy of the previously submitted report is asked to replace the cover letter with the revised letter and make the change in language on page 67. The Facilitator distributed copies of the September 22, 2005 draft meeting summary and noted there were no suggested revisions. She corrected the date at the top of the summary to reflect the true date of the meeting and the 2105LG approved the summary as revised (Attachment 3).
Plumas County questioned the value in finalizing the Rationale Document requested by FERC since FERC has already released their Final EIS. PG&E reminded the 2105LG that FERC requested the document as supporting information but gave no deadline for submittal. The document remains in draft form and has not been submitted to FERC.
Review Edits to Watershed Restoration and Improvement Alternative Language
The Facilitator distributed copies of the draft North Fork Feather River Watershed Restoration and Improvement Alternative with the most recent revisions shown in redline/strikeout (Attachment 4). PG&E explained that their edits were designed to more clearly describe the partnership aspects of the alternative and to focus any planned monitoring on water temperature criteria. Plumas County suggested a broader monitoring approach to highlight the multiple other benefits expected with watershed restoration. The 2105LG discussed the difficulty in attributing a specific benefit to an indirect result when the number of variables contributing to a species health is large and the relationships between variables are so complex. The group discussed the difficulties encountered in implementing the Rock Creek-Cresta monitoring program and agreed they wanted to learn from that experience and develop a focused and cost-effective program. The group agreed to move ‘aquatic resources’ up in the first sentence under ‘Alternative Description’ to come immediately after ‘watershed’ to reflect the multiple benefits expected from the alternative. They also agreed to remove the first section ‘Purpose of Analysis…’. The fifth bullet on page 2 was revised into two bullets as follows:
· The Union Pacific Railroad, CalTrans, and other landowners will be invited to become active participants in the watershed restoration activities, especially regarding fish passage into coldwater tributary channels in the NFFR Canyon.
· Private landowners that benefit directly from the watershed improvements will be expected to contribute funding or in-kind resources as appropriate.
The 2105LG discussed how the SWRCB might use this document and whether the 2105LG should complete the language review and revisions. Plumas County indicated that during informal discussions with SWRCB staff, they were told that the SWRCB had never included off-site mitigation in a 401 Water Quality Certification before. The 2105LG discussed the various ways that the document could be modified and utilized as an alternative and, since SWRCB staff was not in attendance at the meeting, developed three questions they considered important to have answered before agreeing to submit the revised document to SWRCB. The following ‘Questions for Sharon’ were recorded on flip charts:
1) What is the standing of the draft alternative submitted by the 2105LG in advance of scoping? Since it was submitted as a draft with a promise to revise by this group, are you waiting for a final of that document?
2) Will SWRCB consider off-site alternative only after exhausting all on-site actions or will off-site be considered in concert with on-site actions?
3) Are the alternatives all weighted equally – whether from Plumas County or from the 2105LG collaborative?
The Facilitator was sent out to try and contact Sharon Stohrer by telephone, but was unable to reach her. The group discussed whether the answers would change their direction and PG&E noted that their upper management has some concern with submitting this alternative and would benefit from answers to these questions. The Facilitator agreed to ask the questions on the next business day and report back to the 2105LG.
The Facilitator noted that the collaborative agreement could be broken down into two steps: the 2105LG could agree on the language at this meeting and then the decision on submittal could be made after a check-in with senior management. The 2105LG continued to discuss the strategic use of the document and the benefits of ‘leading rather than following’ and after further discussion, agreed to accept the language as revised to complete the first step. PG&E will discuss the document with senior management and share with them the desires of other 2105LG participants to submit the document to SWRCB as a revision to the earlier watershed alternative language submittal. In the meantime, the FS will draft a cover letter for review by the 2105LG addressed to the SWRCB to accompany the alternative submittal.
Action Item: Facilitator will pose the questions developed by the group to Sharon Stohrer, SWRCB and distributed responses.
Action Item: FS will draft a cover letter addressed to the SWRCB for review by the 2105LG.
Action Item: Tom Jereb is to report the position of PG&E’s “senior management” on support of the Watershed Restoration and Improvement Alternative in a few days.
PG&E reported that the SWRCB has verified the models used to evaluate temperature actions and are currently running their own simulations using both SMTEMP and MYTEMP models. The SWRCB has indicated that they will be posting comments submitted during scoping after they remove personal information from the documents but no timetable for the posting has been established.
PG&E reported that the Rock Creek-Cresta ERC decided to take no action, at this time related to the Thermal Curtain Alternative. Dennison reported that during the same ERC meeting, Sharon Stohrer had suggested two other proposals that could be considered for reduction in water temperatures. 1) A modification of Alternative # 6 (increased cold water from Canyon Dam) that would involve re-operation of both of the Caribou Hydroelectric facilities and 2) A 10 ft. culvert that would be used to bypass Butt Reservoir, presumably to minimize the warming of the water as it passes through Butt Reservoir. There was not a discussion of the negative impact to the fish in the reservoir, or whether this would be in conjunction with a Thermal Curtain.
2105LG Coordinated Comments to FERC Final EIS
The Facilitator distributed copies of the FERC Final EIS Summary (Attachment 5) and the 2105LG discussed FERC revisions to the 2105LG Settlement Agreement. Plumas County updated the group on recent federal legislation as part of the Energy Policy Act that could affect relicensing by establishing trial-type hearings for any stakeholder wishing to challenge mandatory conditioning actions on material facts. Under the ruling, alternative actions can be submitted. The time limits for filing a challenge and holding the hearing are short and projects currently involved in relicensing are ‘grandfathered’ into the process. Since it is a new ruling, it has not been tested and it is unclear how the process will occur. The 2105LG discussed how the new procedure could affect the 2105 proceeding and PG&E noted that while they might explore the option for NOAA fish passage prescriptions, they expect to work out other differences with the FS between themselves and FS.
The 2105LG reviewed the bulleted items contained in the FEIS summary and the details included in the FERC staff alternative and agreed to create a joint document in response to the FEIS. The 2105LG identified individuals to provide text on specific bullets and details. While PG&E will formulate responses for the bulk of the details, Plumas County will provide text on the water quality monitoring items and American Whitewater will provide text responding to changes to the recreation flow schedule. Several details related to cultural resources have been addressed and need no further response. The Facilitator will provide a brief introductory paragraph for the response documents and will collate the text provided by others into a single document. Each stakeholder will be able to provide their own response to FERC on the FEIS as appropriate, which will be added to the joint document text developed by the 2105LG. The group agreed that each stakeholder would submit a letter that follows the same format. The letter will consist of an introductory paragraph in support of the 2105LG Settlement Agreement followed by a Part A, consisting of the jointly developed text. Part B will include any additional comments the individual stakeholder may wish to add to their letter. The introduction and Part A will be the same for all letters, with only Part B differing. The 2105LG agreed to develop the introductory and Part A language by December 5 and FS will try to expedite their review so the letters can be submitted to FERC by the December 19, 2005.
Action Item: Participants will prepare text in response to bulleted item/detail included in the FERC FEIS for inclusion in a joint 2105LG response to be submitted to FERC. Prepared text will be submitted to the Facilitator by December 2 and she will collate and distribute draft document on December 5.
Future Meeting Schedule – Next Steps
The 2105LG discussed future meeting needs and agreed to the following meeting schedule:
Attachment 1: List of Attendees
Fred Davis Property Owner
Kim Davis Sen. Sam Aanestad’s office
Bill Dennison Plumas County
Wayne Dyok MWH
Tom Hunter Plumas County
Tom Jereb PG&E
Patti Kroen Facilitator
Bob Lambert 2105 Committee
Brian Morris Plumas County
Lori Powers CDFG
Stuart Running PG&E
Aaron Seandel 2105 Committee
Fred Shanks Property Owner at Lake Almanor
Terri Simon-Jackson USFS
Mike Taylor USFS