Today, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-5) praised the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources' approval of H.R. 316, the Collinsville Renewable Energy Promotion Act. The Collinsville Renewable Energy Promotion Act would permit the towns of Canton, Avon, and Burlington to operate two small, currently inactive hydropower dams and generate locally produced power.
The bill was introduced by Congresswoman Esty in the House on January 18, 2013, passed by a voice vote on February 12, and has been shepherded by Senator Murphy through the Senate this session. Then-5th District Congressman Chris Murphy and Canton First Selectman Dick Barlow successfully worked to pass similar legislation in the House in 2010 and 2012. Both times, the Senate failed to take up the bill after passage in the House. The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources' approval puts the bill on track for consideration by the full Senate.
"These two dams are already a beloved and long-standing symbol of the Farmington's Valley's rich history," said Senator Murphy. "With this important bill moving forward in the Senate today, we can help make them a symbol of the Valley's future as well--retrofitting them to provide clean energy to power thousands of Connecticut homes and businesses. I applaud my colleagues on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Congresswoman Esty for leading this charge in the House."
"I'm pleased that this win-win project is finally on track to receive a long overdue floor vote in the Senate," Congresswoman Esty said. "I thank the Senators of both parties on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee who supported this bill. Most of all, I'm incredibly grateful to Senator Murphy for his leadership shepherding this bill through the Senate and for his years of hard work along with First Selectman Barlow to ensure Canton will be able to create locally-produced, clean power."
"We appreciate Senator Murphy and Congresswoman Esty taking up a project that's so critical to the people of Canton, and we're grateful for their continued commitment to getting these dams operational again. We're tremendously excited about this next step -- to think that we might finally be on track to get this legislation through the House and the Senate this session," said Canton First Selectman Dick Barlow.
The dams are expected to produce nearly two megawatts of power, enough to power more than 1,500 homes.
The upper and lower Collinsville dams were built in the 18th and 19th centuries to power the Collins Company. The Collins Company, which manufactured axes, closed in the 1960s.
The legislation would also ensure that the river's health is fully protected by requiring FERC to complete an updated analysis of the environmental impact of the projects and seek additional public comment before taking action.