McMorris Rodgers Introduces Legislation to Modernize and Streamline Hydropower Relicensing

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 23, 2017) – Clean, renewable, and affordable hydropower plays an important role in the Pacific Northwest and today Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) introduced the Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017 to modernize and streamline hydropower relicensing processes.

“Hydropower plays a major role in our economy and energy supply in Eastern Washington. It is clean, safe, reliable, renewable, and affordable,” said McMorris Rodgers. “On average, it takes only 18 months to license a new natural gas facility, but it can take up to 10 years or longer to license a new hydropower project or relicense an existing facility. As the largest source of renewable energy in the United States, we need to modernize the way we license and relicense hydropower and this legislation will do that.”

The story of hydropower in the Pacific Northwest is an important one. It makes up roughly 70% of the energy production in Washington state, and studies show that we could double hydropower production without building a single new dam, simply by updating and streamlining relicensing processes.

Specifically, this legislation modifies the definition of renewable energy to correctly include hydropower, allows the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to extend a preliminary permit for an additional 4 years with the possibility of an additional 4 years, and directs FERC to move forward on establishing a schedule following the filing of a licensing application. This legislation facilitates the development of small hydropower and conduit projects, using emerging technologies that improve the capture of energy along irrigation canals, municipal water supply conduits, and other infrastructure.

You can learn more about this legislation here.

NOTE: As co-chair of the Congressional Northwest Energy Caucus, Rep. McMorris Rodgers has long been a champion of dams and the power they produce. She also introduced this legislation last Congress and continues her work to provide the region with renewable and affordable energy for generations to come.

In 2016, Rep. McMorris Rodgers served as one of 24 Republicans conferees on the Energy Conference Committee to work with a bipartisan group of House and Senate Members on a package of legislation to modernize our energy infrastructure and support new and innovative technology in hydropower and carbon neutral biomass. You can see her full remarks at the Conference Committee here:

Read the full text of the legislation here.

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