Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32) voted in favor of H.R. 678, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act. Napolitano supported final passage of the bill after an amendment was adopted altering the controversial provision that would have waived the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for these projects. The bill ultimately passed by a vote of 416-7.
"While H.R. 678 is far from perfect, our efforts to reach a bipartisan solution made strides today as we agreed to strike the unnecessary NEPA waiver in the bill," Napolitano said. "I am pleased that my Republican colleagues agree that NEPA is not the problem and we can continue to develop more hydropower at existing facilities. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to further improve the language of this bill and enacting it into law."
H.R. 678 authorizes the Bureau of Reclamation, the largest wholesale water supplier in the nation, to allow for the development of small conduit hydropower projects of 5 megawatts or less on Reclamation facilities. The bill also clarifies that the Bureau of Reclamation is the agency with jurisdiction over these projects. Napolitano offered her own amendment, which would have struck the NEPA waiver from H.R. 678 and increased the limitation from 5 megawatts to 15 megawatts, but it was not adopted.
Napolitano is the ranking member of the Water and Power Subcommittee on the House Natural Resources Committee.