A US appeals court has ordered the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to further examine the license for the Cushman hydroelectric project.

The Tacoma Power-owned project, whose FERC license expired in 1974, is located on Skokomish river on the Olympic Peninsula and supplies about 10% of the electricity sold by the utility.

Tacoma Power has been allowed to continue operating the project during the ongoing dispute, which is part of a decades-long disagreement before federal regulators and in the courts over a new license.

Lawyers for Tacoma Power, the Skokomish Tribe and environmental groups have been trying to decipher the decision from the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, with a solution that is amicable to all parties not apparent in the near future.