Idaho, Oregon OK water certifications for hydroelectric dams

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho and Oregon have completed key elements in a process that will allow an Idaho utility to renew its license for a major hydroelectric project on the Snake River on the Idaho-Oregon border.

Idaho Power in an announcement Tuesday says the two states approved the company’s water quality certifications for the Hells Canyon Complex on Friday.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will now review the certification.

Idaho Power has been trying to obtain a new 50-year license for the three-dam complex after the old one expired in 2005, and it’s been operating on annual licenses.

The utility had been caught in the middle of a fight between the two states over returning federally protected salmon and steelhead above the dams.

The deal that ultimately emerged involves Idaho Power spending more than $300 million on water quality and habitat improvements.