(a) If the council determines a project to be an emergency and the emergency project will be funded solely with grant money for the extension of an existing certificated water facility or wastewater facility, and if the council finds in its recommendation that the construction and acquisition of the emergency project will have no effect on the public utility's customer rates and will have no significant effect on its operational costs as a result of the project cost, then the emergency project is exempt from the requirement to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity under section eleven, article two, chapter twenty-four of this code. If the public utility is a public service district, it is exempt from the approval of the Public Service Commission required under section twenty-five, article thirteen-a, chapter sixteen of this code.
(b) Any public utility, and any other entity that will operate as a public utility, must obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity pursuant to section eleven, article two, chapter twenty-four of this code for any emergency project that is not exempt under subsection (a) of this section. The Public Service Commission shall render its final decision on any application for a certificate within one hundred twenty days of the filing of the application: Provided, That the thirty-day prefiling requirement is not required. If the project sponsor is a public service district, then the project will be exempted from the approval requirements of section twenty-five, article thirteen-a, chapter sixteen of this code.
(c) Projects that are not emergency projects are subject to the requirements of section eleven, article two, chapter twenty-four of this code to the extent they would be otherwise.
(d) The North Fork Hughes River watershed project, proposed to enhance economic growth and development through tourism as provided in subsection (l), section two of this article and to include a water facility project as defined in subsection (n), section two of this article, is hereby specifically exempted from any requirement imposed by this article, except that the provisions of subsection (a) of this section are specifically made applicable to the project. The project is hereby specifically authorized and the public land corporation shall have and may exercise the power of eminent domain and all authority otherwise prescribed by law to acquire necessary land and rights-of-way, to include approximately four hundred seventy-eight acres, in connection with the project. Funding for the project shall be provided by the federal government from the Appalachian regional commission through the United States soil conservation service. Upon completion of the project, the property acquired shall be transferred to the state park system. The commissioner of the Division of Tourism and parks or the successor to the commissioner's powers and duties is directed to expand the boundaries of North Bend state park to include the project area and to operate the expanded park property, including improved recreational facilities, from funds appropriated for that purpose.