Project 2105 License Group (2105LG) Approved Meeting Summary
September 22, 2005
Call to order: Patti Kroen, Facilitator at 10:00 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 Rock Creek-Cresta ERC meeting. The Facilitator distributed copies of the August 24, 2005 draft meeting summary indicating suggested revisions. PG&E noted with regard to the question concerning the Brown Act, that while public agencies are subject to meeting provisions described in the Act, PG&E and other non-governmental organizations are not. The 2105LG approved the summary as revised (Attachment 2).
Rationale Document Review and Discussion
PG&E distributed two documents: Draft Outline, Rationale Report for the Upper North Fork Feather River Relicensing Settlement Agreement (Attachment 3) and Enclosure 2, Rationale Document, Final 4(e) Terms and Conditions Upper North Fork Feather River Project FERC No. 2105 (Attachment 4) and reminded the 2105LG that FERC has requested a Rationale Document, supporting measures included in Appendix B of the April 2004 Settlement Agreement. PG&E explained that the Draft Rationale Document is in outline form and includes references to text from sections contained in the FS Enclosure 2 that will be incorporated into the final Rationale Document. The 2105LG briefly reviewed the draft outline and discussed those areas where text would be developed to describe the rationale behind measures included in Appendix B but not described in the FS document. The 2105LG discussed the intended use of the document by FERC and PG&E noted that FERC had no specific concerns with the Settlement Agreement but wanted a Rationale Document on file. The 2105LG agreed that the text should be brief and agreed that PG&E should flesh out the language and distribute to the 2105LG for comments and suggested revisions.
Action Item: PG&E will develop the outline into a draft document and distribute to the 2105LG for review and comment within the next two weeks. The 2105LG will provide comments and any suggested edits for incorporation prior to submittal to FERC.
Plumas County described discussions with SWRCB regarding the planned CEQA scoping meeting and reported that the arrangements had been modified to allow for a public hearing period, similar to the format used during NEPA scoping. Elected officials and Tribal representatives will be invited to make comments first, followed by agency representatives, non-governmental organization representatives, and members of the public. Elected officials and Tribal representatives will have unlimited time, while everyone else will be asked to limit their comments to three minutes. Attendees are also encouraged to provide their comments in written form: the deadline for comments is October 17, 2005. The 2105LG discussed whether commenting at the scoping meeting is necessary to maintain ‘standing’ within the CEQA process and noted that while agencies are expected to comment during the comment period, not commenting would not necessarily preclude stakeholders from commenting on the Draft EIR when it is published.
The 2105LG agreed that the Facilitator would provide a brief comment at the Scoping meeting on behalf of the 2105LG and would submit the 2004 Settlement Agreement into the record for the CEQA process. The Facilitator agreed to craft a brief statement and distribute it to the 2105LG for concurrence prior to the Scoping meeting. This statement would not preclude other 2105LG parties from providing individual comments. Several participants acknowledged their plans to attend the meeting and provide comments for the record.
The 2105LG briefly discussed the expected CEQA timeline and suggested that ideally, a Draft EIR could be made public sometime in the spring of 2006, followed by a Final EIR at the end of the summer and a 401 Water Quality Certificate from the SWRCB in the Fall 2006. Plumas County suggested that the SWRCB be asked for a timeline at the Scoping meeting. The 2105LG also discussed the potential implications of the new federal Energy Bill, allowing stakeholders through a judicial process to mount additional challenges to mandatory conditions placed by agencies. The changes have yet to be tested and it is unclear how they will affect the balancing process FERC conducts during relicensing.
PG&E reported that the dispute resolution process initiated within the Rock Creek-Cresta ERC group has been completed. The issue was concerning the method by which a document describing the 24 alternatives evaluation was submitted to FERC by PG&E rather than the contents of the document. PG&E has re-titled the document ‘Draft’ and re-characterized ‘best available technology’ to ‘best available information’. The ERC has also been given the opportunity to provide comments on the document.
Water Temperature Modeling – Poe Project Technical Sub-Group Activities
The 2105LG was updated on the efforts of the Poe Relicensing collaborative to come to agreement on the use of modeling tools to assess the expected effectiveness of proposed flow modifications. PG&E described sub-sub-group meetings between PG&E, SWRCB and CDFG modelers designed to evaluate data sets used and calibration inconsistencies apparent when using the SNTEMP and SSTEMP models. PG&E explained that SSTEMP is a simplified form of the more complex SNTEMP model, due to differences in input variables. The modelers concluded that the output from both models are consistent with each other, and the results indicate that it is not possible to use additional flow as suggested to meet the 1º C hourly temperature change criteria. The Poe Collaborative Group will meet again in October to discuss the results of the technical sub-group.
Watershed Restoration and Improvement Alternative Update
Plumas County provided a presentation of the Watershed Restoration and Improvement Alternative slide show, originally presented by Jim Wilcox, which has been augmented with a soundtrack and noted that the audio-visual presentation will be submitted to SWRCB to further describe the watershed alternative for the purposes of CEQA analysis. A field trip to the locations described in the slideshow will also be offered to SWRCB and their consultants.
Plumas County distributed a revised document, East Branch, North Fork Feather River Restoration Program Projects and Predicted Benefits (Attachment 5) and the 2105LG reviewed the revisions and new tables. The 2105LG discussed whether this proposal is a Plumas County proposal or meant to be a revision of the Watershed Restoration and Improvement Alternative developed by the 2105LG. Participants suggested a number of revisions and clarifications for the document prior to submittal to SWRCB as further description of the 2105LG-developed alternative. The 2105LG discussed how to best clarify and standardize the new charts and how to blend this revised document with the document submitted to SWRCB last month, describing the Watershed Restoration and Improvement Alternative.
Action Item: The Facilitator will assist Leah Wills to ‘blend’ the two documents and will circulate the revised document to the 2105LG for review prior to submittal to SWRCB in advance of the October 17, 2005 deadline for scoping comments.
Future Meeting Schedule – Next Steps
The 2105LG discussed future meeting needs and agreed to cancel the next scheduled meeting (October 20) because there is insufficient material to warrant a full meeting at that time. The 2105LG noted that any outcome from the CEQA Scoping meeting would not likely be available in October and the revisions to both the Rationale Document and the Watershed Restoration and Improvement Alternative could be handled via e-mail. The 2105LG agreed to maintain the scheduled November 18, 2005 meeting date at this time. The Facilitator was directed to ask SWRCB how they intend to provide Scoping Meeting comments to interested parties and what their anticipated timeline for completion of the CEQA process is. The Facilitator suggested these questions could be directed to SWRCB at the CEQA Scoping Meeting.
The 2105LG agreed to the following meeting schedule:
October 20 CANCELED
November 18 Chico
Attachment 1: List of Attendees
Bill Dennison Plumas County
Wayne Dyok MWH
Lorena Gorbet MCDG
Tom Hunter Plumas County
Tom Jereb PG&E
Patti Kroen Facilitator
Brian Morris Plumas County
Stuart Running PG&E
Aaron Seandel 2105 Committee
Fred Shanks Property Owner at Lake Almanor
Terri Simon-Jackson USFS
Mike Taylor USFS
Scott Tu PG&E
Leah Wills Plumas County