Update: House Passes Hydropower Legislation



posted November 16, 2017
by Megan Hooker

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On November 8th, 2017, the House Passed H.R. 3043, the “Hydropower Policy Modernization Act.” You can see how your Representative voted here. The bill moves to the Senate next.



H.R. 3043 amends the Federal Power Act as it relates to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) hydropower licensing process. This process currently strikes a balance between hydropower and all other values, ensuring that things like water quality, fish and wildlife, flows, and recreation are given equal consideration to hydropower when determining how a FERC licensed dam will operate in the future. H.R. 3043 undermines this balance by giving FERC more authority to make decisions about natural resource issues.

FERC is an independent agency that is tasked with regulating the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas and oil, and reviewing proposals to build liquefied natural gas terminals, natural gas pipelines and hydropower projects. State, federal and tribal agencies that have expertise and experience in fish, wildlife, flows and recreation are better suited to continue to make natural resource decisions, as they have for decades with little to no impact on hydropower generation.

 Placing more authority with FERC will make it harder for American Whitewater to restore flows to rivers like the Sultan in Washington, pictured here, and it will lead to bad outcomes for rivers and local communities. This is why over one hundred conservation and recreation organizations opposed H.R. 3043, along with state and tribal agencies across the country.

The FERC hydropower licensing process is a critical tool for protecting and restoring rivers impacted by privately and municipally owned and operated dams. You can help today by reaching out to your Senators and encouraging them to stand up for rivers as they consider hydropower legislation next. We’ve made it easy for you to do that here

American Whitewater will continue to track hydropower legislation as it moves in the Senate and keep you updated. Stay tuned...