The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2012 has passed the U.S. House of Representatives with a unanimous, bipartisan 372-0 vote.
The bill -- officially known as House Resolution 5892 -- would increase the development of small hydropower and conduit projects by directing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to study the feasibility of a streamlined two-year permitting process.
"The future of American energy independence depends on the development of an 'all of the above' energy approach, and I'm proud that hydro is finally on its way to being part of it," says Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), who co-authored the legislation.
The bill's other author, Representative Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), says it will also create a number of employment opportunities.
"This legislation will expand renewable and affordable hydropower, and create good jobs for American families," DeGette says. "Together, the House has continued the bipartisan spirit in which the act was created -- to help get Americans back to work and take a step forward in our nation's clean energy leadership.
"The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act will continue the growth of the hydropower industry by encouraging development to bring additional affordable clean power to more Americans," Ciocci says.
The bill must now go before the U.S. Senate.