Three pieces of hydroelectric power legislation have received unanimous approval from the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, positioning them for voting in the full Senate.
Included on the committee's docket were:
- The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013 (House Resolution 267);
- The Hydropower Improvement Act of 2013 (Senate Bill 545); (2) and
- The Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act (H.R. 678, S.B. 306)
"Over the past three years, leaders on Capitol Hill have been working in a bipartisan manner to advance these commonsense solutions to the real challenges faced by developers who seek to maximize the benefits of water infrastructure," said Linda Church Ciocci, Executive Director for the National Hydropower Association.
Support for the bills has been strong from both the Republican and Democratic parties, reflecting a commitment to include hydroelectricity as part of President Barack Obama's "all-of-the-above" energy plan.
"Hydro is back," committee chairman Sen. Ron Wyden, D.-Ore., said during the NHA's Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., (5) last month. "In fact, hydro is way back."
Previous versions of each of the three bills were passed to the Senate during the past legislative session, though none came to voting before the 112th Congress was dissolved.
Ciocci said she is optimistic, however, that the trio might fare better this time.
"Action on hydropower legislation demonstrates that bipartisan solutions to our nation's energy challenges exist and can be enacted by Congress," Ciocci said. "I urge Majority Leader Harry Reid to quickly move these bills through the Senate to President Obama's desk and make them the first pieces of energy legislation to become law in the 113th Congress."