Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 470, the Hoover Power Allocation Act of 2011, after a two-year effort by lead Democratic co-sponsor Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA). The bill reauthorizes the Hoover Dam to continue distributing power for another fifty years 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.
"This bill allows the Hoover Dam to continue serving the 29 million people in California, Arizona, and Nevada who rely on it for inexpensive, renewable energy," Napolitano said. "For thousands of Native Americans, the new allocation will mean access to this critical power source for the first time. This reauthorization has been a two-year, bipartisan effort, and I strongly urge the Senate to quickly pass this critical piece of legislation."
"This bipartisan bill will ensure energy security to the millions in Southern California and elsewhere who rely on the green energy provided by the Hoover Dam," Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-CA) said. "I want to thank Congresswoman Napolitano for her leadership on this bipartisan effort and join her in urging the Senate to act quickly and pass this important legislation."
H.R. 470 would reauthorize the dam from 2017, when the current allocation plan is set to expire, until 2067. Quick passage is needed to give the Hoover Dam's customers and operators time to adjust to the new allocations.
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.
Last year, the reauthorization bill passed the House of Representatives but did not clear the Senate.
Rep. Napolitano is the top Democrat on the Water and Power Subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives.
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.
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.
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.
The House passed an identical reauthorization bill in June of 2010, but the Senate was unable to pass it before adjourning at the end of the 111th Congress.