Chairman Hastings' Floor Statement on Bipartisan Plan to Expand Renewable Hydropower Production
“H.R. 2482 affirms Republicans’ commitment to a true ‘all-of-the-above’ energy plan. It will create jobs in rural areas, lower energy prices and expand production of clean, renewable American energy by simply getting the federal government out of the way.”

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 6, 2012 - House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings delivered the following statement on the House floor today in support of H.R. 2842, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act of 2011 – a plan to create new American jobs and expand production of clean, renewable hydropower by cutting duplicative, bureaucratic red tape.

“Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of H.R. 2842, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act of 2011. It authorizes hydropower at existing Bureau of Reclamation facilities and, by doing so, it allows placement of hydropower generators on existing man-made canals and pipes that have already gone through extensive environmental review.

This is a bipartisan plan to create new American jobs, cut government red tape and expand production of clean, renewable and low-cost hydropower.

This past weekend, President Obama once again tried to claim support for ‘all-of-the-above’ energy production. But unlike President Obama’s empty rhetoric, House Republicans are taking real action to prove our commitment to expanding all forms of American energy.

Americans have experienced 27 consecutive days of rising gas prices and now the national average is pushing closer to $4 a gallon. In order to address these skyrocketing prices, Republicans will continue to pursue a true ‘all-of-the-above’ approach that responsibly develops the natural resources we have right here at home.

The facts are, we have followed through on this commitment by passing through the House, bipartisan reforms to break down government barriers to American energy production.

Just weeks ago, the House passed a bipartisan jobs plan to vastly expand access to our oil and natural gas resources offshore and in ANWR.

Today, we are putting forth a plan to expand production of clean, renewable hydropower.

As families and small businesses across the country are worried about rising gasoline prices, they are also worried about escalating electricity costs. Rising energy prices are a drain on our economy. It increases business costs and makes everything we do more expensive.

Hydropower is one of the cleanest and cheapest forms of electricity. In my view, coming from the Pacific Northwest, hydropower is the poster child for clean, renewable energy.

Unfortunately, as is too often the case, the federal government is one of the biggest obstacles to increasing the development of hydropower projects, especially small projects.

This bill would remove government roadblocks and streamline the duplicative regulatory process for developing small canal and pipeline hydropower projects on existing Bureau of Reclamation facilities.

This common-sense plan would help generate thousands of megawatts of clean, cheap, abundant and reliable hydroelectricity. Furthermore, it allows for new hydropower generation without a single new dam and at no cost to the federal government.

Let there be no mistake, I am a proponent of new dams, but this bill rightly harnesses hydropower potential at existing facilities. Water users throughout the West will be empowered to develop hydropower at the federal canals they operate and maintain.

It’s once again important to note that this bill only allows for small hydropower projects on existing canals and pipelines. Such man-made facilities are already on disturbed ground and have already gone through environmental review.

Furthermore, this bill is a revenue generator for the federal government. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates it will generate $5 million over ten years through increased hydropower production and the rental fees associated with it.

H.R. 2482 affirms Republicans’ commitment to a true ‘all-of-the-above’ energy plan. It will create jobs in rural areas, lower energy prices and expand production of clean, renewable American energy by simply getting the federal government out of the way.

The bill received bipartisan support in the Natural Resources Committee and is endorsed by the Family Farm Alliance, the National Water Resources Association, the Association of California Water Agencies and the American Public Power Association.

I commend bill sponsors and Committee Members Scott Tipton and Paul Gosar for their work on this jobs plan and encourage my colleagues to support the bill.”

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