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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) issued the following statement after President Obama signed the “Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act” into law Friday:
“Our bill to remove barriers to hydropower development, create rural jobs and lower electricity prices for American families is now officially signed into law,” said Barrasso. “By cutting unnecessary Washington red tape, this law gives hydropower developers the certainty they need to move forward with new projects on over 40,000 miles of federal canals throughout the West. I’ll continue to introduce legislation that removes excessive regulations and makes it easier for our country to produce our own energy.”
Senator Barrasso, along with Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), originally introduced the “Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act” on February 13, 2013. Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) are original co-sponsors. On August 1, 2013 the Senate unanimously passed the bill.
Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-03) sponsored the House bill which passed the House of Representatives on April 10th by a vote of 416-7.
Many rural water and irrigation districts and electric utilities in Wyoming, as well as in other western states, seek to develop hydropower on Bureau of Reclamation water canals and pipelines. In fact, according to a Bureau of Reclamation March 2012 report, Wyoming has over 121 Bureau of Reclamation canal sites where small hydropower units could be installed—the most of any state. However, outdated and unnecessary federal regulations hinder these small hydropower projects, rendering them economically unfeasible.
The “Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act” will enable job creators to invest in domestic energy production by removing duplicative environmental analysis and reducing regulatory costs associated with hydropower development.
In addition, the bill:
• Provides America with a cheap and clean source of electricity available through modern technology.
• Creates an environment for substantial rural job creation.
• Generates federal revenue, as CBO estimates that the bill will generate $5 million in federal revenue over the 2012-2021 period.
• Does not harm the environment since the generation units would be placed on already developed ground within existing facilities that have already gone through federal environmental review.