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North Carolina v. Federal Power Comm'n

Citation: 6 ELR 20336
No. No. 74-1941, 533 F.2d 702/8 ERC 1917/(D.C. Cir., 03/24/1976)

The Federal Power Commission's (FPC) consideration of possible alternatives to a pumped storage hydroelectric facility on the New River, including energy conservation and inclusion of the river in the national wild and scenic rivers system, satisfies NEPA. Plaintiffs' objection that the FPC failed to consider certain costs of the project such as loss of natural stream flow, and illegally used the need for pollution dilution as a project justification, were not raised with sufficient specificity at the FPC license rehearing to be cognizable on appeal. In view of North Carolina's mere generalized concern for conservation of energy through peak load pricing, the FPC's brief discussion of the energy conservation alternative meets NEPA's requirement of a reasonable discussion of alternatives. The FPC also adequately considered the social cost of the project in terms of relocation assistance for dispossessed residents. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act's prohibition of FPC licensing a project on certain designated rivers does not apply, since the New River has not yet been designated under that Act, by either congressional or administrative action. Newly-filed evidence that the New River Valley possesses significant archeological value requires that the FPC condition the license upon the licensee's providing time and funding to complete the necessary archeological excavation and salvage.

Counsel for Petitioner North Carolina
Millard R. Rich, Jr., Asst. Attorney General
Justice Bldg.
Raleigh NC 27602
(919) 829-3377

Thomas J. Schoenbaum
University of North Carolina Law School
Chapel Hill NC 27514
(919) 933-5100

Counsel for Respondent Federal Power Commission
Drexel D. Journey, General Counsel
Steven A. Taube
John R. Staffier
Federal Power Commission
Washington DC 20426
(202) 376-5270

Counsel for Intervenor Appalachian Power Company
William J. Madden, Jr.
Shoreham Bldg.
806 15th Street, NW
Washington DC 20005
(202) 393-2080

Counsel for Intervenor Commonwealth of Virginia
James E. Ryan, Jr., Asst. Attorney General
1101 E. Broad Street
Richmond VA 23219
(804) 770-2071

Counsel for Intervenor State of West Virginia
Frank M. Ellison, Deputy Attorney General
East State Capitol
Charleston WV 25305
(304) 348-2021

Counsel for Amicus Curiae Committee for the New River
Edmund I. Adams
121 E. Doughton St.
Sparta NC 28675
(919) 372-5519

Counsel for Amicus Curiae Committee for the Improvement of Alleghany
Dan R. Murray
P.O. Box 578
Sparta NC 28675
(919) 372-5541

Counsel for Amicus Curiae West Virginia Division of the Izaak Walton League
Frederick L. Milier, Jr.
1700 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington DC 20006
(202) 296-4325

Before Bazelon, C.J., Robinson and Robb, JJ.