Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environment, Economics and Politics

Reader 1

Bowman Cutter

Reader 2

Nayana Bose

Rights Information

© 2019 Claire C Wendle


Private hydropower operations across the United States are utilizing a public resource, rivers, for power production benefits. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulates river use through a relicensing procedure that occurs every thirty or fifty years through a cost-benefit analysis framework to determine the best public use of the river. This thesis explores the structure of the current cost-benefit analysis and the effects of timing, public participation and valuation of ecosystem services in the final relicensing decision, and recommends the use of a social cost-benefit framework to distribute the natural resource benefits rivers provide more equally and give fair weight to ecosystem benefits in a market-driven process.