McMorris Rodgers Advocates for Hydropower Bill at Energy & Power Subcommittee Hearing

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Co-Chair of the Congressional Hydropower Caucus, advocated for her forthcoming bill, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2012, at an Energy & Power Subcommittee hearing today.  The Congresswoman’s bill would facilitate the development of small hydropower and conduit projects, and direct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to study the feasibility of a streamlined two-year permitting process. 

 

“In my district, hydro plays a crucial role – whether it’s conventional, small, or conduit hydro,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers.  “In fact, hydropower provides 75 percent of electricity, to Eastern Washington and to the Pacific Northwest region.  While there are a vast array of renewable energies – including solar, wind, and nuclear power – in my opinion, the facts are clear: the future of American energy independence depends on the development of an ‘all of the above’ energy approach – including hydro.  That’s why Congresswoman Diana DeGette and I have been working to expand hydropower production.  Our bill is timely and targeted and it will create jobs and bolster America’s competitiveness in the energy sector.”

 

During the hearing, Rep. McMorris Rodgers also questioned Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Patricia Hoffman about why hydropower is missing from the President’s desired energy mix.

 

“Where is hydropower?” asked Rep. McMorris Rodgers. “Am I to conclude that President Obama doesn’t see a future role for hydropower, and that he is actually picking wind and solar over hydropower as a renewable source of energy?”  To watch the exchange, click here.

 

The Congresswoman’s prepared opening statement is below.

 

Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank you for holding this hearing as well as thank our witnesses for taking the time to testify before the Subcommittee today.

 

In my district, hydro plays a crucial role – whether it’s conventional, small, or conduit hydro. In fact, hydropower provides 75 percent of electricity, to Eastern Washington and to the Pacific Northwest region.

 

While there are a vast array of renewable energies –including solar, wind, and nuclear power – in my opinion, the facts are clear: the future of American energy independence depends on the development of an all of the above energy approach – including hydro. 

 

Hydropower’s value can’t be overlooked.  And its potential cannot be underestimated.

 

That’s why Congresswoman Diana DeGette and I have been working to expand hydropower production.

 

Today, this committee will examine our bill, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act.

 

This bill would facilitate the development of hydropower and conduit projects through several common-sense reforms such as:

 

Updating the FERC license exemption standard to streamline the development of more small hydro projects.   

           

Giving  FERC the option to exempt hydro projects generating under 10 megawatts and conduit projects generating between 5-40 megawatts from the permitting process. 

 

Allowing  FERC to extend the term of a preliminary permit for up to two years, for a total of five years, in order to allow a permittee sufficient time to develop and file a license application.

 

Our bill is timely and targeted and it will create jobs and bolster America’s competitiveness in the energy sector.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce one of our witnesses on today’s second panel. I have had the privilege of knowing Andrew Munro for the past few years. Andrew serves on the Grant County Public Utility District, in Washington State. He formerly served as the President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of the National Hydropower Association. Andrew understands the importance of this bill and sees it as a stepping stone for future hydropower legislation.

 

Again, I thank the all of our witnesses for participating and for the Chairman for holding this hearing.

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