H.R. 3043 is an attempt to streamline the hydropower licensing process by centralizing power and allowing the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) to set an aggressive and unrealistic licensing schedule that all agencies must follow throughout the licensing process.
Photo Courtesy of Mike Mercer
Hydropower licenses are issued for up to 50 years. Many hydropower facilities that are coming up for relicensing now were first constructed before virtually all modern environmental laws were in place. It is during relicensing proceedings that the public gets the opportunity to ensure that dam owners make the necessary changes to comply with key laws like the Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. The opportunity to mitigate for the damage to the environment, while still providing reliable electricity, only arises once in a generation or two. This bill effectively dismisses the need to comprehensively evaluate potential environmental impacts.
The balance the Federal Power Act currently strikes between power and non-power values has existed for almost a century. Current law protects the public’s right to enjoy its rivers, a right which can and should be compatible with responsible electricity production. However, H.R. 3043 upends that balance and power company profits will go to the head of the line, ahead of every other user.
Simply put, the bill is a massive giveaway to special interests at the expense of healthy rivers and the fish, wildlife, and people that depend upon them. Write your Senators and ask them to OPPOSE H.R.3043
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