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Mitigation for natural resource impacts related to energy project development is essential to the long-term sustainability of Washington’s fish, wildlife and habitat resources.
The goal of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) is to maintain the functions and values of fish and wildlife habitat in the state. We strive to protect the productive capacity and opportunities reasonably expected of a site in the future. In the long-term, DFW seeks a net gain in productive capacity of habitat through restoration, creation, and enhancement to ensure species protection and recreational opportunity.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the United States federal agency with jurisdiction over interstate electricity sales, wholesale electric rates, hydroelectric licensing, natural gas pricing, and oil pipeline rates. FERC also reviews and authorizes liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, interstate natural gas pipelines and non-federal hydropower projects.
Section 10(j) of the Federal Power Act requires the FERC to consider fish and wildlife terms and conditions as recommended by state and federal fish and wildlife agencies for the protection of such resources.
DFW serves as Washington’s principal agency on species protection and conservation (RCW - Title 77). Legislative Mandate RCW 77.04.012 establishes that wildlife, fish, and shellfish are property of the state and that DFW is entrusted by and through the Fish and Wildlife Commission to … “preserve, protect, perpetuate, and manage the wildlife and food fish, game fish, and shellfish…” and “… attempt to maximize the public recreational game fishing and hunting opportunities of all citizens…” Therefore, seeking the equitable balance between natural resource protection and energy independence remains a core value in species protection and conservation.
For projects that are regulated by the FERC, the DFW recommends terms and conditions under 10(j) of the Federal Power Act. Oftentimes, mitigation and settlement agreements are negotiated with energy project owners and memorialized through this process.
Energy projects not regulated by FERC are generally regulated by the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) or County conditional use permits.