Sens. Murkowski, Wyden Applaud Passage of Two Hydropower Bills

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., commended their Senate colleagues for passing by unanimous consent two hydropower measures – the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act (H.R. 267) and the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act (H.R. 678).

“I applaud my colleagues for finally giving hydropower the recognition it deserves,” Murkowski said. “I consider hydropower to be our hardest working renewable resource and one that often gets overlooked in the clean energy debate. With only 3 percent of the nation’s 80,000 existing dams set up to generate electricity, hydropower is our greatest untapped potential for generating cost-effective, carbon-free energy.”

“There’s no better evidence that hydro is back than these two bills passing the Senate on a unanimous vote,” Wyden said. “Capitalizing on the power potential of existing dams, pipes and conduits is the kind of practical thinking our country needs to generate more renewable energy and cut our carbon footprint.”

The two measures were advanced out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in May. The bills will now be sent to the President’s desk to be enacted into law.

The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act, which was sponsored by Reps. Reps. Cathy McMorris-Rogers (R-Wash.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), focuses on administrative actions that can be taken to advance conventional hydropower resources. It unanimously passed the House earlier this year.

Similarly, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act, which was sponsored by Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) and Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), passed the House earlier this year by a vote of 416-7.

“After today’s vote, hydropower developers will soon have the certainty they need to create rural jobs and lower electricity prices for American families,” Barrasso said. “Wyoming and other states with many potential Bureau of Reclamation sites will be able to fully embrace hydropower’s potential. I encourage the President to sign this bill into law immediately. Congress must also continue to come together remove more Washington red tape and clear the way for more American energy development.”

“One of the best sources of renewable, clean, energy is hydroelectric. Signing this bill into law will allow further modernization of conventional water canals, conduit piping, and irrigation ditches with new conduit hydropower technology, thereby expanding hydropower technology in Idaho and other western states,” Risch said. “This bill will streamline federal bureaucracy and eliminate red tape. It will also provide great opportunities for Idaho canal companies and irrigation districts to expand agriculture projects, create new jobs, and generate new clean energy. I eagerly await this bill becoming law.”