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LEGAL FRAMEWORK: Federal Law Guiding BPA Activities Affecting Columbia River Basin Fish & Wildlife



BPA actions to protect, mitigate and enhance fish and wildlife in the Columbia River Basin are guided by numerous federal laws and regulations. This includes (but is not limited) to the following:

Federal Law Citation Description
Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly referred to as the Clean Water Act) 33 U.S.C. 1251-1387 Provides for the restoration and maintenance of the Nation's waters. Authorizes EPA to establish effluent limitations and requires permits for the discharge of pollutants from a point source to navigable waters. EPA approves state and tribal limits for the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards for specified purposes, including fish and wildlife.
 
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 42 U.S.C. 9601-9675 Provides for the cleanup of hazardous waste by imposing liabilities and duties on responsible parties, including federal agencies, and by authorizing the federal government to take cleanup actions in response to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances.
 
Endangered Species Act 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544 Provides for the conservation and recovery of species of plants and animals that the National Marine Fisheries Service or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determines to be in danger of or soon to become in danger of extinction. Includes measures to protect the habitats of these species.
 
Migratory Bird Treaty Act 16 U.S.C. 703-712 Implements various treaties and conventions between the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, and the former Soviet Union for the protection of migratory birds. Prohibits taking, killing, or possessing migratory birds.
 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 142 U.S.C. 4321-4347 Enacts measures to promote efforts to prevent or eliminate damage to the environment. Requires federal agencies to examine the impacts of proposed major federal actions "significantly affecting" the environment.
 
National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 16 U.S.C. 470 Encourages agencies and individuals to develop historic preservation programs, and requires agencies to oversee any historic sites under their jurisdiction and consider the effects of its actions on historic sites. Provides for tribes to designate an official to administer the preservation program on tribal lands.
 
Bonneville Project Act of 1937 16 U.S.C. 832-832l Authorizes the construction, maintenance and operation of the Bonneville Project to improve navigation on the Columbia River, and for incidental purposes such as the production of electricity. Creates the Bonneville Power Administration (Bonneville) and authorizes it to market power produced by the Project and to construct electricity transmission lines. Requires Bonneville to set its rates in a way that considers the recovery of the cost of producing and transmitting electric energy from the Federal Columbia River Power System.
 
Columbia Basin Project Act 16 U.S.C. 835-835c-5 Makes the construction of Grand Coulee Dam subject to federal reclamation laws discussed in this table, and authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to take certain actions, including the sale and exchange of lands and the administration of public lands in the project area, to, among other things, protect project land.
 
Federal Columbia River Transmission System Act 16 U.S.C. 838-838k Directs the Secretary of Energy, through the Administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration, to operate and maintain the federal electric power transmission system in the Pacific Northwest and to construct appropriate improvements and additions. Designates Bonneville as the marketing agent, with some exceptions, of electric power generated by federal plants constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers or the Bureau of Reclamation in the Pacific Northwest.
 
Mitchell Act 16 U.S.C. 755-757 Directs the Secretary of Commerce to establish salmon-cultural stations in the Columbia River Basin in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, and to carry out other activities for the conservation of fishery resources in the Columbia River Basin.
 
Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act 16 U.S.C. 839-839h Enacts measures to assure the Pacific Northwest of an adequate, efficient, economical, and reliable power supply, and includes provisions for the protection of fish and wildlife. Provides for the formation of the Pacific Northwest Electric Power and Conservation Planning Council (Council) and directs it to, among other things, develop a program to "protect, mitigate, and enhance" fish and wildlife of the Columbia River Basin. Requires the Administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration to take steps to "protect, mitigate, and enhance" fish and wildlife affected by the development and operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System, while ensuring the Pacific Northwest an adequate, efficient, economical, and reliable power supply. Requires federal agencies responsible for managing, operating, or regulating hydroelectric facilities in the Columbia River Basin to provide equitable treatment for fish and wildlife with the other purposes for which these facilities are operated and managed, and to consider in their decision-making process, to the fullest extent practicable, the Council's fish and wildlife program.
 
Federal Power Act 16 U.S.C. 791a-797, 798-824a, and 824b-825r Provides for the development, conservation, and use of the nation's navigable waters, including the development of waterpower resources, and, to that end, requires federal licenses for the construction and operation of certain nonfederal hydroelectric projects. For projects using lands within federal land reservations, such as national forests, licenses are subject to conditions established by the relevant land management agency for protection of the lands. License conditions must include a requirement for fish passage as prescribed by the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce. The license must also include conditions for the protection and enhancement of fish and wildlife, based generally on recommendations made by federal and state fish and wildlife agencies.
 
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act 25 U.S.C. 3001-3013 Establishes a process for agencies to return Native American remains and associated funery objects to lineal descendants and affiliated Indian tribes, and regulates the ownership and control of Native American cultural items that are excavated or discovered on federal or tribal lands after November 16, 1990.


Source: Laws, citations, and descriptions appearing herein are reproduced from the following document: "COLUMBIA RIVER BASIN   A Multilayered Collection of Directives and Plans Guides Federal Fish and Wildlife Activities". Published by the United States General Accounting Office (June, 2004). An electronic copy of this document is available here.

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 Page last reviewed on 1/28/2011 10:49:38 AM