Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 678, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act, with a bipartisan vote of 416-7. This legislation, sponsored by Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-03), would create new American jobs and expand production of clean, renewable hydropower by eliminating bureaucratic and regulatory hurdles.
Specifically, the bill would authorize hydropower development on existing, man-made Bureau of Reclamation water canals and pipes, cut government red-tape by streamlining a duplicative regulatory process, and reduce administrative costs for developing these green energy projects. This would help generate thousands of mega-watts of hydropower at no cost to taxpayers.
"Right now, hardworking American families are facing high unemployment, surging energy prices, and a struggling economy. Developing America's natural energy resources is vital to growing America's economy and creating much needed jobs right here at home. Hydropower is clean, renewable, and part of a true 'all of the above' approach to energy development that creates jobs, lowers energy prices, and makes America energy secure. This bipartisan legislation is an important step forward to cutting unnecessary government red tape that's standing in the way of renewable energy production," said Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04).
"This common sense legislation will foster clean renewable energy development, create jobs in rural America, and do so without taxpayer cost while returning revenues to the Treasury," said Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-03). "There has been a lot of discussion on both sides of the aisle about the need to pursue an all-of-the-above domestic energy strategy, and hydropower, as the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source, should be at the forefront of any comprehensive national energy policy."
"Americans have been hit hard by skyrocketing energy costs, especially during this recession. Swift action on our hydropower development and rural jobs bill could provide much needed relief," said Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04).
This bill is supported by the Family Farm Alliance, National Water Resources Association, Association of California Water Agencies, American Public Power Association, Colorado River Energy Distributors Association, Agri-Business Council of Arizona, National Hydropower Association and has a companion bill in the Senate authored by Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Michael Enzi (R-WY), James Risch (R-ID), and Mike Crapo (R-ID) - S.306.