FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20426

January 12, 2023

OFFICE OF ENERGY PROJECTS

Project No. 1889-085

FirstLight MA Hydro LLC

Project No. 2485-071

Northfield Mountain LLC

VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL

Mr. Alan Douglass

Regulatory Compliance Manager

Northfield Mountain LLC and FirstLight MA Hydro LLC

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Reference: Requests to Delay Issuance of Notice of Ready for Environmental
Analysis


Dear Mr. Douglass,

Northfield Mountain LLC and FirstLight MA Hydro LLC (collectively, the
Licensees) filed relicense applications for the Northfield Mountain Pumped Storge
Project No. 2485 and Turners Falls Hydroelectric Project No. 1889 on April 29, 2016,
and amended the applications on December 4, 2020. On December 16, 2020,
Commission staff issued procedural schedules that included a target date of May 2021,
for the notice that the license applications are ready for environmental analysis (REA
notice).


On August 3, 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
requested that the Commission delay the REA notice until November 12, 2021, to
provide time for relicensing participants to negotiate a settlement agreement. On August
5, 2021, the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife and the Licensees filed
comments in support of delaying the REA notice. The Licensees stated, in the August 5,
2021 filing, that they were engaging resource agencies and other stakeholders in
settlement discussions involving fish passage, streamflow, recreation, and cultural
resources.

On November 12, 2021, the Licensees filed an update indicating that
substantial progress had been made on a settlement. The Licensees stated their intent to
file a settlement agreement in June 2022, and requested that the Commission continue to

delay the REA notice. The Licensees subsequently filed updates on January 4 and
January 31, 2022, indicating that conceptual agreements had been reached on several
issues.


The Licensees filed agreements in principle on whitewater boating releases and
recreation improvements on February 28, 2022; and on flow releases, water level
management, and fish passage on March 18, 2022. In the March 18 letter, the Licensees
stated that they were targeting the summer of 2022 for filing a comprehensive settlement
agreement that resolves all relicensing issues.


On July 25, 2022, Commission staff requested an update on the settlement
agreement. The Licensees filed the update on August 9, 2022, indicating that substantial
progress had been made toward a comprehensive settlement agreement and that an
agreement would be filed by December 31, 2022. On October 31, 2022, the Licensees
filed an amended agreement in principle on flow releases and fish passage, and reiterated
that a settlement agreement would be filed by December 31, 2022.


On January 4, 2023, the Licensees filed an update stating that although a
comprehensive settlement agreement has not been reached on all issues, they have
finalized a settlement agreement on operations, fish passage, and protected, threatened,
and endangered species. The Licensees state that the agreement is being circulated for
signature by: Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries
Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Nature Conservancy. The Licensees
commit to filing an update on settlement discussions involving recreation, whitewater
boating, cultural resources, and shoreline erosion by March 31, 2023.


To provide time for the licensing participants to finalize the settlement
agreement(s), staff will delay the REA notices until May 31, 2023. The Licensees should
file any settlement agreement(s) by March 31, 2023, to provide time for the Commission
to provide public notice and solicit comments on the agreement(s) prior to issuing the
REA notices. We expect the Licensees to file biweekly updates on the settlement
discussions until March 31, 2023.


Sincerely,

Vince Yearick

Director

Division of Hydropower Licensing

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