Proposed Protected Areas Changes: 1992 Rulemaking

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In August, 1988, the Council incorporated into its Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program and its Power Plan "protected areas" measures to protect critical fish and wildlife habitat from new hydropower development. The protected areas provisions provided processes for amending protected areas on various grounds. In November 1991, in response to an announcement by the Council, the Council received a number of petitions to amend protected areas. On the basis of these petitions, at its February 11-12, 1992 meeting, the Council voted to initiate rulemaking pursuant to section 4(d)(1) of the Northwest Power Act to consider amending certain protected areas provisions of the program and the power plan. The attached document is a summary of the proposed changes.

All written comments must be received in the Council's central office, 851 S.W. Sixth Avenue, Suite 1100, Portland, Oregon, 97204, by 5 p.m. Pacific time on Friday, May 1, 1992. Comments should be submitted to Steve Crow, Director of Public Affairs, at this address. Comments should be clearly marked "Protected Areas Comments."

After the close of written comment, the Council may hold consultations with interested parties to clarify points made in written comment, and will supply notice of such consultations to persons requesting such notice. Consultations may be held up to the time of the Council's final action in this rulemaking.

Public hearings will be held in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington in March and April, 1992. If you wish to obtain a schedule of the hearings, more information about this process or reserve a time period for presenting oral comments at a hearing, contact the Council's Public Affairs Division, 851 S.W. Sixth Avenue, Suite 1100, Portland, Oregon 97204 or (503) 222-5161, toll free 1- 800-222-3355 in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Requests to reserve a time period for oral comments must be received no later than two work days before the hearing. Persons without a scheduled time period will be accommodated as the schedule permits.

The Council expects to take final action on the proposed protected areas amendments at its Mayor June 1992 meeting. The actual date on which the Council will make its final decision will be announced in accordance with applicable law and the Council's practice of providing notice of its meeting agendas.

Thirteen petitions have been received. Eight of the petitions seek removal of protected status so that hydro projects can proceed. Five petitions would add protected status to various reaches or subbasins. No petitions have been received for protected areas in Montana or Oregon.

One of the petitions proposes protected area status based on a decision of the Idaho Legislature that the reach should be protected. On its own motion, the Council has also included other Idaho river reaches with a similar status.

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