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Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. McMORRIS RODGERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 5892, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2012, which I introduced, along with my good friend from Colorado, Representative Diana DeGette.

To see the potential and the benefits of hydropower, all we have to do is look at my home State of Washington, which gets over 75 percent of its power from clean, reliable hydropower and has some of the Nation's lowest electricity rates.

The Columbia and Snake River dams in eastern Washington, through irrigation, transformed a dry, barren desert with sagebrush to one of the most productive agriculture regions in the world. The low cost of hydropower brought high-tech companies like Google and Yahoo to relocate their servers there. Manufacturing facilities like BMW have now opened plants in Moses Lake, and the significant transportation benefits hydropower infrastructure provides to our Nation's barging are all as a result of hydropower.

Yet, notwithstanding all of these benefits, the regulatory approval process for hydropower development, especially for smaller projects, can be unnecessarily slow, costly, and cumbersome. That's why I authored, and I urge my colleagues to support, H.R. 5892, which reforms and streamlines the hydropower permitting and regulatory process for small hydropower and conduit projects, reducing the burdens impeding development and getting low-cost electricity to communities faster.

Mr. Speaker, few would disagree that we as a Nation need to become more energy independent. Along with Members on both sides of the aisle, I support an all-of-the-above energy strategy. The Department of Energy has also a goal of doubling the amount of hydropower produced in the United States, which a recent National Hydropower Association study revealed could be accomplished without building a single new dam by simply investing in new technologies and turbines. Mr. Speaker, the benefits and the overwhelming potential is why I urge the President to include hydropower in his all-of-the-above energy strategy.

As part of an all-of-the-above strategy, we need to domestically produce more oil, coal, natural gas, and renewable energies like hydropower. According to the Energy Information Administration, currently 75 percent of all renewable energy produced in the United States is hydropower. However, that only accounts for 7 percent of the total electricity nationwide, and we've hardly scratched the surface of hydropower's potential. By utilizing currently untapped resources, the United States could add approximately 60,000 megawatts of new hydropower by 2025.

Furthermore, with job growth still at a sluggish pace and far too many Americans out of work, we should be looking at every opportunity to put Americans back to work. Increased hydropower development will do just that, with the potential to create up to 700,000 jobs over the next decade. Unleashing American ingenuity to increase hydropower production will lower energy costs and help create thousands of jobs.

Mr. Speaker, I urge all my colleagues to support American energy and support H.R. 5892.

I reserve the balance of my time.


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