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H.R. 2872 (115th): Promoting Hydropower Development at Existing Nonpowered Dams Act


The text of the bill below is as of Dec 12, 2017 (Reported by House Committee).

Summary of this bill

Source: Republican Policy Committee

H.R. 2872 promotes hydropower development at existing nonpowered dams by establishing an expedited licensing process that will result in a final decision on an application in two years or less. The legislation also requires the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of Interior, to develop a list of existing nonpowered federal dams that have the greatest potential for non-federal hydropower development.


IB

Union Calendar No. 343

115th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2872

[Report No. 115–461, Part I]

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 12, 2017

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

December 12, 2017

Reported with an amendment and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for a period ending not later than December 12, 2017, for consideration of such provisions of the bill and amendment as fall within the jurisdiction of those committees under clause 1(m) and 1(r), of rule X respectively

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic

December 12, 2017

The Committees on Natural Resources and Transportation and Infrastructure discharged; committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

For text of introduced bill, see copy of bill as introduced on June 12, 2017


A BILL

To amend the Federal Power Act to promote hydropower development at existing nonpowered dams, and for other purposes.


1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Promoting Hydropower Development at Existing Nonpowered Dams Act.

2.

Promoting hydropower development at existing nonpowered dams

Part I of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 792 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

34.

Promoting hydropower development at existing nonpowered dams

(a)

Expedited licensing process for non-Federal hydropower projects at existing nonpowered dams

(1)

In general

As provided in this section, the Commission may issue and amend licenses and preliminary permits, as appropriate, for any facility the Commission determines is a qualifying facility.

(2)

Rule

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Commission shall issue a rule establishing an expedited process for issuing and amending licenses and preliminary permits for qualifying facilities under this section.

(3)

Interagency Task Force

In establishing the expedited process under this section, the Commission shall convene an interagency task force, with appropriate Federal and State agencies and Indian tribes represented, to coordinate the regulatory processes associated with the authorizations required to construct and operate a qualifying facility.

(4)

Length of Process

The Commission shall ensure that the expedited process under this section will result in a final decision on an application for a license by not later than 2 years after receipt of a completed application for the license.

(b)

Dam safety

(1)

Assessment

Before issuing any license for a qualifying facility, the Commission shall assess the safety of existing non-Federal dams and other non-Federal structures related to the qualifying facility (including possible consequences associated with failure of such structures).

(2)

Requirements

In issuing any license for a qualifying facility, the Commission shall ensure that the Commission’s dam safety requirements apply to such qualifying facility, and the associated qualifying nonpowered dam, over the term of such license.

(c)

Interagency communications

Interagency cooperation in the preparation of environmental documents under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) with respect to an application for a license for a qualifying facility under this section, and interagency communications relating to licensing process coordination pursuant to this section, shall not—

(1)

be considered to be ex parte communications under Commission rules; or

(2)

preclude an agency from participating in a licensing proceeding under this part.

(d)

Identification of nonpowered dams for hydropower development

(1)

In general

Not later than 12 months after the date of enactment of this section, the Commission, with the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Secretary of Agriculture, shall jointly develop a list of existing nonpowered Federal dams that the Commission and the Secretaries agree have the greatest potential for non-Federal hydropower development.

(2)

Considerations

In developing the list under paragraph (1), the Commission and the Secretaries may consider the following:

(A)

The compatibility of hydropower generation with existing purposes of the dam.

(B)

The proximity of the dam to existing transmission resources.

(C)

The existence of studies to characterize environmental, cultural, and historic resources relating to the dam.

(D)

The effects of hydropower development on release or flow operations of the dam.

(3)

Availability

The Commission shall—

(A)

provide the list developed under paragraph (1) to—

(i)

the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Committee on Natural Resources, of the House of Representatives; and

(ii)

the Committee on Environment and Public Works, and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, of the Senate; and

(B)

make such list available to the public.

(e)

Definitions

For purposes of this section:

(1)

Qualifying criteria

The term qualifying criteria means, with respect to a facility—

(A)

as of the date of enactment of this section, the facility is not licensed under, or exempted from the license requirements contained in, this part;

(B)

the facility will be associated with a qualifying nonpowered dam;

(C)

the facility will be constructed, operated, and maintained for the generation of electric power;

(D)

the facility will use for such generation any withdrawals, diversions, releases, or flows from the associated qualifying nonpowered dam, including its associated impoundment or other infrastructure; and

(E)

the operation of the facility will not result in any material change to the storage, release, or flow operations of the associated qualifying nonpowered dam.

(2)

Qualifying facility

The term qualifying facility means a facility that is determined under this section to meet the qualifying criteria.

(3)

Qualifying nonpowered dam

The term qualifying nonpowered dam means any dam, dike, embankment, or other barrier—

(A)

the construction of which was completed on or before the date of enactment of this section;

(B)

that is or was operated for the control, release, or distribution of water for agricultural, municipal, navigational, industrial, commercial, environmental, recreational, aesthetic, drinking water, or flood control purposes; and

(C)

that, as of the date of enactment of this section, is not generating electricity with hydropower generating works that are licensed under, or exempted from the license requirements contained in, this part.

.

3.

Obligation for payment of annual charges

Section 10(e) of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 803(e)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(5)

Any obligation of a licensee for payment of annual charges under this subsection shall commence when the construction of the applicable facility commences.

.

December 12, 2017

Reported with an amendment and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for a period ending not later than December 12, 2017, for consideration of such provisions of the bill and amendment as fall within the jurisdiction of those committees under clause 1(m) and 1(r), of rule X respectively

December 12, 2017

The Committees on Natural Resources and Transportation and Infrastructure discharged; committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed