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Congressman Scott Tipton

Representing the 3rd District of Colorado

Tipton Votes to Bolster American Hydropower Production

November 8, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) voted to increase hydropower production by expediting the permitting process and prioritizing completion of hydropower projects. The Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017 (H.R. 3043) passed the House with bipartisan support.

“Hydropower continues to play an important role as we work to develop an all-of-the-above energy strategy in the United States. The current licensing process for hydropower projects includes too many barriers and unreasonable wait times,” said Tipton. “The Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017 will help cut through some of the bureaucratic red tape that is preventing the development of this responsible and affordable energy source.”

In 2015, hydropower accounted for six percent of all U.S. electricity production. A 2016 study by the Department of Energy found that hydropower could grow by fifty percent from present levels by the year 2050 if existing hydropower facilities are upgraded and new hydropower facilities are developed.

The Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017 will update the definition of renewable energy under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to rightfully include hydropower. It will also designate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as the lead agency in charge of federal hydropower authorizations, approvals and requirements.

This legislation mandates the completion of hydropower license proceedings in a timely manner by directing the FERC to move forward in establishing a schedule after a license application is filed. It also requires the FERC to pursue the development of small hydropower and conduit projects using emerging technologies along irrigation canals, municipal water supply conduits and other infrastructure.

The Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017 shares the objective of Tipton’s legislation, The Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act (H.R. 678), which streamlined regulatory process and reduced administrative costs for small hydropower development. This legislation was signed into law in the 113th Congress.