FERC Stands By Admiralty Inlet Tidal Project

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied a request for a rehearing of orders for a tidal energy proposal in the Admiralty Inlet in Snohomish County, Washington, USA. 

On March 20, FERC issued the license order and then the preemption order in June, both of which were objected by PC Landing Corp. and the Tulalip Tribes of Washington.

PC Landing and the Tulalip Tribe filed requests for rehearing of the license order. Tulalip Tribes also filed a motion for a stay of the license.

“PC Landing argues that the project poses an unacceptable risk to its international fiber optic telecommunications system. Tulalip maintains that the project would significantly interfere with its access to tribal fishing grounds,” FERC explained in its latest order, issued on December 5.

In June 19, FERC issued the preemption order, denying the Tulalip Tribes’ motion for a stay and granting a petition filed by Snohomish County Public Utility District’s after the issuance of the license order.

The District filed a petition asking the Commission to declare that the Federal Power Act (FPA) preempts Washington State’s regulatory authority under its Shoreline Management Act (Shoreline Act) and that, as a result, the District is not required to obtain the state’s approval in the form of a shoreline use permit. 

Subsequently, the two organizations then filed requests for rehearing of the preemption order, arguing that it is premature, unnecessary, and inconsistent with law and FERC policy.

FERC has denied both orders, saying that the Admiralty Inlet Project will not endanger PC Landing’s telecommunications system, nor will have a negative impact on the Tribes’ access to their traditional fishing grounds.

“We further affirm that, in this case, the FPA preempts Washington’s Shoreline Act authority and a state permit is not required,” FERC concluded.

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Offshore WIND Staff; Image: University of Washington’s tidal energy study of Admiralty Inlet.

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