Hydro industry renewable energy policy passes U.S. House Committee

House of Representatives Seal

House Resolution 267, also known as the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013, has passed the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee a week after the renewable energy policy was reintroduced to the legislature.

Previously known as H.R. 5892, the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013 is a bipartisan policy designed to promote the growth of mini hydro and in-conduit projects by streamlining the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) permitting process for low-impact proposals.

The bill received a unanimous 372-0 approval from the 112th Congress in July 2012, though it never came to a vote in the Senate during the waning final weeks of the legislative session.

The bipartisan energy policy was reintroduced by Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., to the House this past week, who said it’s the bill's passage is a matter of national importance.

"While there are a vast array of renewable energies -- including solar, wind and nuclear power -- in my opinion, the facts are clear," McMorris Rodgers said. "The future of American energy independence depends on the development of an 'all of the above' energy approach, including hydro.

"Our bill is timely and targeted, and it will create jobs and bolster America's competitiveness in the energy sector."

McMorris Rodgers' sentiment has been echoed by the National Hydropower Association, which called the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013 a, "common sense, bipartisan piece of legislation".

"[The bill] will allow hydropower to contribute more to our nation's energy needs and economic growth," NHA Executive Director Linda Church Ciocci said. "We urge the full House to swiftly pass H.R. 267 as it did unanimously last July."

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