Water resources bill clears House with hydro provision
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association welcomed the U.S. House of Representatives’ bipartisan passage of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act 417 to 3.
“This is a win for electric cooperatives and renewable energy advocates across the country,” said Kirk Johnson, senior vice president for government relations at NRECA. “Hydropower accounts for the majority of the emissions-free renewable energy generated in this country and co-ops partnered with the federal government on this valuable energy source from the start. We look forward to the House and Senate sorting out their differences and acting quickly on this critical legislation.”
The legislation included an amendment introduced by Rep. Doc Hastings, a Republican from Washington state, that preserves Congress’ traditional role to authorize projects at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams and reservoirs and prevents ad hoc alterations that could present a risk to federal hydropower generation.
This is particularly important because electric co-ops pay, with interest, for hydropower and other functions at Corps dams, and they rely on the hydropower generated at Corps projects to keep electric rates as affordable, Johnson said. The loss of hydropower generated at these projects would require co-ops to seek more expensive, and potentially less clean, replacement power.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.
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