WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today passed another Energy and Commerce Committee bill, H.R. 3043, the Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017 by a vote of 257-166. H.R. 3043, sponsored by committee member and Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), seeks to modernize the licensing process for hydropower facilities.
Today, hydropower is the largest renewable energy source for electricity across the United States. It is an essential component of an all of the above energy strategy and there is tremendous opportunity to expand this emissions-free energy resource. However, the duration, complexity, and uncertainty of the hydropower licensing process has created significant barriers, preventing investments that would create jobs and benefit consumers.
H.R. 3043, the Hydropower Policy Modernization Act, would modernize the permitting process by:
- Improving administrative efficiency, accountability, and transparency,
- Requiring timely decision making, and;
- Reducing duplicative oversight from the multiple federal agencies that review hydro applications by designating the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the lead agency.
“This bill is the culmination of five committee hearings and markups, along with several bipartisan staff meetings with the hydropower industry and tribes that have a stake in the licensing proceedings,” said full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “The supporters of this bill, such as labor and industry organizations, recognize the vital role it will play in supporting job growth, local economic development, and providing much-needed reforms to the licensing process.”
“Hydropower is crucial to our way of life in the Pacific Northwest. It’s clean, it’s renewable, it’s reliable, and it’s one of the reasons why we in Eastern Washington enjoy some of the most affordable electricity rates in America,” said McMorris Rodgers. “This bill won’t change outcomes or environmental standards. Instead, it will speed up the relicensing process and save time and money. Providing relief from these costly and time-consuming regulatory processes will encourage investment in hydropower so we can continue to support this clean energy in our region.”
“Hydropower generates nearly 43 percent of electricity in Oregon and this dependable baseload power has helped drive the development of everything from value-added agriculture processing to data centers, creating jobs along the Columbia River and throughout Oregon,” concluded Chairman Walden. “This emissions-free energy resource should not be bogged down in bureaucratic red tape any longer. At the end of the day, this important legislation promotes hydropower development, creates jobs, and provides consumers across the country with continued access to clean, affordable and reliable baseload power generation.”
To learn more about the committee’s work to advance energy infrastructure, click here.