Unprecedented Result for Jennings Strouss Client - The City of Hamilton, Ohio
Alan Robbins and Debra Roby successfully secured for their client, the City of Hamilton, Ohio, a 50-year license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to construct and operate a 105 MW hydropower project at the Captain Anthony Meldahl Locks and Dam on the Ohio River. Once constructed, the Meldahl Project will be the largest hydropower project on the Ohio River and will supply emissions-free energy to customers in the Ohio Valley region for generations to come. With rising environmental concerns, obtaining a hydropower license is extremely competitive and holding that license is very valuable.
The City of Hamilton was late to the game with already two competing applications pending for a permit to study the site. The only way Hamilton could even hope to compete was to bypass the permitting stage to elevate the proceeding directly to the more complex licensing stage. To compete, Hamilton had to be the first to file its license application in 120 days.
Robbins and Roby adopted and executed a very aggressive regulatory strategy to do in four months what normally takes closer to four years; and do so in a manner that satisfied the very detailed regulations governing the environmental and resource agency consultation process. This approach was unprecedented at FERC and required extensive meetings with State and Federal environmental and resource agencies and Indian Tribes, as well as public meetings in Kentucky and Ohio. With the help of engineering experts and environmental consultants, Robbins and Roby filed Hamilton's three-volume license application three days before the deadline, and before Hamilton's competitors filed their applications.
The end result was that the City of Hamilton beat its competition, including another municipality and an investor owned utility. The Meldahl license was issued to Hamilton in record time - approximately 20 months from the date the application was filed with FERC, and approximately 25 months from the date Hamilton's "Notice of Intent" was filed - which is approximately three to four years sooner than the normal timeframe. This project now goes from a paper proposal to a $400 - 600 million project with steel in the ground (and water), which is truly exciting.