Modernization Concerns DEBUNKED
Modernizing the licensing process to unlockhydro is good public policy that will help the nation fight climate change. Contrary to the misinformation being disseminated by some, neither of bipartisan modernization bills weakens or eliminates the authority of federal and state resource agencies to require hydropower operators to mitigate the effects of their projects. The legislation is designed to protect states’ rights and environmental values.
We want you to have the facts. So we’ve put together a deep-dive analysis into the legislation to correct the record.
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Separating Myth from Fact
Congress is currently considering 2 pieces of bipartisan legislation aimed at modernizing licensing of non-federal hydropower resources. The nearly century-old licensing process is simply not up to the task at a time when we need more investment in clean energy and to retain and rapidly deploy more climate-friendly generation.
Bipartisan compromise is within reach, but legacy opponents of hydropower are making the path to progress difficult by mischaracterizing the impact of modernization. A more efficient and less redundant licensing process can drive investment to low carbon energy without sacrificing critical natural resource protections. Environmental oversight and protection in the licensing process can and should be retained – but this does not mean that those goals could not be reached through a smarter and modernized process. Thousands of megawatts of climate-friendly generation are at stake.
To be sure, the current bills would not weaken agencies’ authorities under key environmental statutes, such as the Federal Power Act (FPA), Clean Water Act (CWA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA), to protect, mitigate and enhance environmental resources affected by a hydropower project being considered for licensing. Far from curtailing agencies’ authorities, these provisions are intended to ensure that agencies are addressing project-related impacts and recognizing the multiple public benefits provided by hydropower. It is to ensure that all water uses are taken into consideration.
As we work together to unlock the significant benefits of hydropower, it’s essential that we separate myth from fact.