NHA praises Senate measure for hydro licensing reform

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2002 — The National Hydropower Association applauded Wednesday morning’s Senate passage of bi-partisan language that would provide incremental improvement to the hydropower licensing process.

“It’s a ray of hope for America’s renewable energy resource,” said Linda Church Ciocci. “Senators Nelson, Craig and Smith, and nine other Democrats, are to be commended for their leadership in addressing this vital issue to America’s energy supply. While there are still many issues left unresolved, the Nelson/Smith/Craig amendment provides meaningful change in a process that is far too unwieldy and unpredictable for anybody’s liking. We know there are still hurdles ahead, but today’s Senate action is an important milestone toward better integrating clean, renewable hydroelectric power into our nation’s energy mix.”

On a voice vote, the Senate adopted substitute language to the Nelson/Smith/Craig amendment to S. 517 that would extend the time between license application and expiration date in future hydro relicensing proceedings and broaden the environmental standard for fish passage requirements. As with the original amendment, the substitute would also require federal natural resource agencies to consider alternative license conditions from hydropower applicants that meet existing environmental standards for federal lands and meet a low-cost or more power standard.

“Despite the additional burdens imposed on license applicants in the Smith substitute,” continued Linda Church Ciocci, “the preservation of an applicant’s right to have its alternative condition reviewed, and the review to be documented, would be a significant improvement in the process. If the energy bill, as amended, survives the Senate and a subsequent conference, we will be one-step closer to maintaining the viability of U.S. hydropower projects while preserving environmental protections that are so dear to all Americans.”

The National Hydropower Association is a non-profit trade association representing 66 percent of licensed hydroelectric capacity in the United States. It advocates for the use of hydroelectric power to meet America’s energy and environmental objectives.


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