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Representatives discuss dam development, protection
Herald and News 8/16/12 by Tri-City Herald
Pasco, Wash. — The House Natural Resources Committee is meeting today in Pasco, Wash. for a field hearing about wide-ranging legislation introduced by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., to promote new hydropower development and protect dams.

The hearing will give an opportunity for the committee to hear from local leaders and other invited speakers about the value of protecting existing dams and the economic and job creation benefits of expanding hydropower production, Hastings said.

The hearing is at TRAC, 6600 Burden Blvd., Pasco, and open to the public.

The bill introduced by Hastings, called the Saving Our Dams and New Hydropower Development and Jobs Act, would “help eliminate government roadblocks and frivolous litigation that stifle development,” he said.

It would prohibit federal dollars from being used to remove or breach hydropower dams or to study those actions without specific authorization by Congress.

It also seeks to prevent federal grants from being used by groups suing the federal government to breach or remove dams or otherwise prevent the generation of hydropower. The prohibition would extend up to a decade after the legal action.

Consumers also would have more information about how much environmental laws to protect fish and wildlife add to their power bills. Monthly bills would include estimates of direct costs and also indirect costs such as replacement power costs.

The bill would make clear that hydropower is a renewable energy source, just as wind and solar are considered renewable sources.

Hydropower would be encouraged by allowing parties such as irrigation districts and other local governments to complete planning and feasibility studies authorized by Congress for dams. Projects would be authorized for construction only if no federal money is required to finance, build or operate the hydropower project.


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