On Wednesday, the House voted 416 to 7 in support of H.R. 678, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act. Rep. Lummis joined Rep. Scott Tipton of Colorado in introducing H.R.678 and securing its approval through the Resources Committee and the U.S. House. H.R. 678 authorizes hydropower development in the 373 Bureau of Reclamation canals and other water conduits in the West that have been identified by the agency as having hydropower potential. Wyoming leads the nation with 121 of these small water conduits, which contain tremendous clean energy potential that goes untapped because of bureaucratic uncertainty and duplicative environmental paperwork.
By streamlining the regulatory processes, H.R. 678 will expand clean energy supplies, create jobs, increase federal revenue and provide local water districts with additional income. Groups supporting this legislation include the Family Farm Alliance and the National Water Resources Association.
"When Congress and the Bureau of Reclamation created these canals, we did not have the technology or know how to harness and channel the energy behind these water flows," Rep. Lummis said. "But we do now and the law needs updating to allow for it. This bill is about unleashing this hydropower potential in a environmentally responsible way that also protects the end water users for whom these water conduits were created in the first place. This is exactly the kind of innovation and job creation we need in our nation's energy policy, all without costing taxpayers a cent and in the process producing clean, affordable energy."