As the Energy Congressional Conference Committee prepares to resolve the differences between the House and Senate energy bills (Energy Policy Modernization Act S. 2012), the National Hydropower Association (NHA), American Public Power Association (APPA), Edison Electric Institute (EEI), Large Public Power Council (LPPC), and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) urged conferees to include provisions to modernize the hydropower licensing process.
In the letter, they called for the following priority improvements to be included in the final conference report:
- Directing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to lead the coordination of the many approvals needed for hydropower projects and to work with agencies and other licensing participants to set timely schedules;
- Holding all participants to the schedule by including mechanisms that provide consequences for undue or unjustified delays, while also providing sufficient resources and time for decision‐ makers to complete their work
- Protecting and improving on the important licensing improvements achieved in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 for trial‐type hearing and alternative conditions
- Clarifying that certain mandatory conditioning authority is limited to addressing actual project effects
- Providing new, more efficient approval processes for targeted categories of much needed and low‐impact projects, such as environmentally beneficial license amendments, building on non‐ powered dams, and closed‐loop pumped storage