Tipton Clean Energy, Rural Jobs Bill Receives Legislative Hearing

Colorado River District witness says bill will have significant impact in advancing local projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Scott Tipton’s (CO-03) pro jobs clean energy development bill received a legislative hearing in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power. The Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act (H.R. 678) would streamline burdensome red tape and reduce administrative costs for the installation of small canal and pipeline hydropower development projects. Increased small hydropower installation will create local jobs, add clean, inexpensive electricity to the grid and supply the federal government with additional revenues while modernizing infrastructure.

“At a time when our country needs to focus on domestic energy production and job creation, hydropower can play a critical role in providing clean, renewable electricity while expanding job opportunities in rural America.  Hydropower is the cheapest and cleanest source of electricity available through modern technology,” Tipton said. “The only thing standing in the way of realizing the incredible potential of this readily available renewable energy source is the existing federal regulatory framework, which stifles development and entrepreneurship. For this reason, I reintroduced this bipartisan legislation. The bill authorizes power development at the agency’s conduits to clear up multi-federal agency confusion and duplicative processes and reduces the regulatory costs associated with hydropower development.”

View Tipton’s full testimony here.

Chris Treese of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, which covers 28,000 square miles over 15 counties in west and northwest Colorado, testified in support of H.R. 678.  He spoke on a number of hydropower projects in the region that would benefit from its passage.

“There is considerable potential to pursue clean, renewable hydropower development within the River District. There are 13 Reclamation projects within my district. Some already have hydropower included in their authorizations. I believe, however, that all 13 would benefit from this legislation. I know of several districts that have considered hydropower investment, but never seriously, as they are discouraged by the regulatory uncertainty and costs currently represented by the existing permitting process,” Treese said. “We support H.R. 678 and believe it will reduce costs and foster more conduit hydropower at federal facilities and empower irrigation districts involved in the operation and maintenance of these Reclamation canals to develop and benefit from this clean energy source. We further believe it will clarify issues of federal authority on these projects that will improve and streamline the decision-making processes.”

View Chris Treese full testimony here.

The next step for the Hydropower and Rural Jobs Act will be Natural Resources Committee markup before going to the House floor for a vote.  Read more on the bill here.