Senate panel OKs bill for small hydro projects

A measure that would allow for quicker construction of hydropower projects on canals, pipes and other U.S. Bureau of Reclamation conduits on Wednesday passed its first test in the Senate.

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., who plans to sign on as a cosponsor of the measure, S. 306, voted for it in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which approved the bill. The next step for the measure is a vote on the Senate floor.

The measure by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., already passed the House, 265-154, last month and Udall supported it Wednesday as S. 306 passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The measure would eliminate unnecessary and duplicative administrative and regulatory costs, Udall said in a statement, noting that “hydro-electric power has an important role to play in helping the United States achieve true energy self-reliance.”

The measure is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. John Barasso, R-Wyo.

Once the measure becomes law, the water flowing through small Bureau of Reclamation-operated conduits could generate enough electricity to power 1 million homes, Tipton said in a statement.

Udall is a cosponsor of a separate measure sponsored by U.S. Rep Diana DeGette, D-Colo., that would ease construction of small hydropower projects on conduits operated under the auspices of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


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