Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed the Hoover Power Allocation Act, which ensures that the Hoover Dam is able to continue providing power for another 50 years for the 29 million people in California, Arizona, and Nevada who rely on it for inexpensive energy. The bill now needs a final vote in the U.S. House of Representatives before it can be signed into law.
"I applaud the Senate for its quick consideration of the Hoover Power Allocation Act, and ask leaders in the House of Representatives to do the same," Napolitano said. "This critical legislation gives our homes and businesses inexpensive, renewable energy for another fifty years, and offers new access to Native American tribes and other entities which were previously excluded."
The bill reauthorizes the Hoover Dam to continue distributing power through 2067, and sets aside 5 percent of its electricity for use by new entities, including Native American tribes, irrigation districts, electric cooperatives, and other entities that previously lacked access.
Both Democratic and Republican Senators supported the bill.
The bill passed the House of Representatives on October 3 with bipartisan support. Now that is has passed the Senate, the House of Representatives will need to pass a correcting resolution that authorizes certain technical changes made in the Senate version. After the final House vote, the bill will be sent to the President to be signed into law.
Napolitano is the top Democrat on the House Water and Power Subcommittee.
Over 29 million people in Arizona, California, and Nevada rely on power from the Hoover Dam, which is a clean, renewable source of energy. Power to be generated from the Hoover Dam was first allocated by Congress in 1934 as the dam was nearing completion. In 1984, Congress re-allocated Hoover power through contracts with state, municipal and utility contractors until 2017. H.R. 470 would authorize the dam from 2017 through 2067.
Quick passage of the current Hoover Power Allocation Act is needed to give the dam's customers and operators time to adjust to the new allocations.
Under the proposed legislation, Congress would reallocate power to existing contractors in Arizona, Nevada, and California while expanding the potential pool of contractors to include federally recognized Indian Tribes and other eligible entities that are not currently able to purchase Hoover power. Existing contractors contribute 5% of their current allocation to make this expansion to other groups possible.
Hoover power contractors have invested over $1.3 billion to date in maintaining the Hoover Dam, and they will continue to pay for the operation, maintenance, replacement, and equipment upgrades for the dam's power facilities under the new authorization. The existing power contractors have also committed to supporting the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program, which provides for the protection of 26 endangered, threatened and sensitive species on the lower Colorado River.
The California cities of Los Angeles, Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Anaheim, Azusa, Banning, Colton, Riverside, and Vernon, as well as the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the Southern California Edison Company, and entities within Arizona and Nevada will continue to have access to electricity from the Hoover Dam.