Newhouse Votes to Protect Rural Utilities and Support Hydropower
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse (WA-04), released the following statement applauding House passage of H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act. This legislation will modernize the country’s energy laws and infrastructure for the 21st Century, facilitate more domestic energy production, modernize our energy workforce, improve management of the electric grid on federal lands and forests, update hydropower regulations, and strengthen overall U.S. national security and energy independence.
“I am proud to support this legislation to improve the reliability of our electricity grid and to support clean, renewable hydropower infrastructure,” said Rep. Newhouse. “Updating management policies for power lines on federal lands is a common sense step to reduce the threat of wildfires and prevent unnecessary electricity blackouts. Much of our energy in the Pacific Northwest comes from hydropower sources, and cutting red tape for non-federal hydropower projects will create more opportunities for clean energy production that benefits the environment and creates jobs. Improving management of the electric grid and reforming guidelines for hydropower production for will make energy more affordable for American energy consumers and ratepayers.”
Included as a provision within H.R. 8 is the Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act, which was co-sponsored by Rep. Newhouse. This provision will improve the safety and reliability of transmission and distribution of electricity across federal lands. This will streamline the process of trimming hazard trees and performing limited vegetative management around power lines on federal lands.
H.R. 8 also contains important provisions to update federal licensing and regulation of non-federal hydropower projects administered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the Federal Power Act (FPA). Currently, the hydropower authorization process can last for 8 to 10 years, while other energy resources, such as natural gas, can be authorized in two years or less. Among other changes, the legislation includes reforms that would: make the approval process for non-federal hydropower more efficient and collaborative; improve the hydropower licensing study process; improve FERC’s license amendment procedures; expedite hydropower project upgrades that expand renewable hydropower capacity, address environmental effects, or support public recreation.