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Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SMITH of Nebraska. Mr. Chair, I rise today in support of H.R. 678, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act, of which I am a cosponsor, and I want to thank Mr. TIPTON for his efforts.

Expanding access to clean, affordable, reliable energy is one challenge facing our Nation today. And while visionaries are looking for solutions, outdated bureaucracy is stifling innovation.

Though its environmental impacts are negligible, small hydropower development remains a financial challenge.

By exempting small hydropower from NEPA requirements, this bill substantially reduces administrative costs and could help stimulate the economy of rural America at no cost to taxpayers.

Let me be clear, Mr. Chair, this bill, like hydropower legislation I introduced last Congress, is limited in scope.

We're not talking about waiving environmental regulations for large, new infrastructure projects; we're talking about streamlining the process of developing clean, renewable energy on existing conduits.

According to a Bureau of Reclamation's March 2012 report on conduit hydropower development, more than 30 irrigation sites in my home State of Nebraska contain more than 5,000 kilowatts of potential hydropower development.

This bill empowers local irrigation districts to produce emissions-free energy which could be used by producers or sold to help pay for aging infrastructure costs.

There are no government mandates and no hidden costs, Mr. Chair.

Sustainable, affordable energy is critical to growing our economy and this is commonsense policymaking.


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