House passes small hydro bill for Bureau of Reclamation sites

The U.S. House of Representatives on April 10 passed H.R. 678, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act, with a bipartisan vote of 416-7.

This legislation, sponsored by Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., would create new American jobs and expand production of clean, renewable hydropower by eliminating bureaucratic and regulatory hurdles, said a statement from the House Natural Resources Commmittee.

Specifically, the bill would authorize hydropower development on existing, man-made Bureau of Reclamation water canals and pipes, cut government red-tape by streamlining a duplicative regulatory process, and reduce administrative costs for developing these green energy projects. This would help generate thousands of megawatts of hydropower at no cost to taxpayers, the committee noted.

“Developing America’s natural energy resources is vital to growing America’s economy and creating much needed jobs right here at home. Hydropower is clean, renewable, and part of a true ‘all of the above’ approach to energy development that creates jobs, lowers energy prices, and makes America energy secure. This bipartisan legislation is an important step forward to cutting unnecessary government red tape that’s standing in the way of renewable energy production,” said Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash.

“This common sense legislation will foster clean renewable energy development, create jobs in rural America, and do so without taxpayer cost while returning revenues to the Treasury,” said Tipton. “There has been a lot of discussion on both sides of the aisle about the need to pursue an all-of-the-above domestic energy strategy, and hydropower, as the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source, should be at the forefront of any comprehensive national energy policy.”

This House bill, supported by parties like the American Public Power Association, has a companion bill, S. 306, in the Senate authored by Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., James Risch, R-Idaho, and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.