• 7 minutes Reuters: OPEC Ministers Agree In Principle On 1 Million Barrels Per Day Nominal Output Increase
  • 13 minutes Could Venezuela become a net oil importer?
  • 18 minutes Oil prices going Up? NO!
  • 2 hours The Tony Seba report
  • 4 hours Reuters: OPEC Ministers Agree In Principle On 1 Million Barrels Per Day Nominal Output Increase
  • 1 hour Could Venezuela become a net oil importer?
  • 2 hours Harley-Davidson "Made in EU"
  • 4 hours Erdogan After Erdogan: New Presidential Mandate After Yesterday's Elections
  • 1 hour Time Of Recession - China and Europe Are Warning That A Trade War Could Trigger A Global Recession
  • 8 hours LNG Shortage on the Way
  • 3 hours The U.S. Will Soon Give North Korea a Timeline of 'Specific Asks
  • 14 hours Kenya Eyes 200+ Oil Wells
  • 13 hours Are Electric Vehicles Really Better For The Environment?
  • 6 hours Sell out now or hold on?
  • 14 hours OPEC soap opera daily update
  • 22 hours Saudi Arabia turns to solar
  • 18 hours Renewables to generate 50% of worldwide electricity by 2050 (BNEF report)
  • 5 hours No LNG Pipelines? Let the Trucks Roll In
  • 1 hour Saudi Arabia plans to physically cut off Qatar by moat, nuclear waste and military base
Alt Text

The Mysterious Company Behind Kyrgyzstan's Hydro Disaster

Kyrgyzstan’s hydropower drama has reached…

Alt Text

Tajikistan’s New Hydroelectric Plant Can Benefit Entire Region

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev offered…

Daniel J. Graeber

Daniel J. Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer and political analyst based in Michigan. His work on matters related to the geopolitical aspects of the global energy sector,…

More Info

Trending Discussions

The Strange Case of U.S. Hydropower Legislation

The Strange Case of U.S. Hydropower Legislation

A measure is on its way to the U.S. Senate that proposes easing some regulations for hydroelectric dams in western states. The bill passed easily through the Republican House of Representatives, but faced some objection from lawmakers who complained it would skirt necessary environmental review. A legacy of partisan rancor on Capitol Hill suggests the bill might not stand a chance of seeing the light of day, however. Either the legislation contains some truly objectionable issues, or a policy of "no" is truly keeping even the smallest of energy issues off the U.S. political table.

Last week, the House passed the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act by a vote of 265-154, meaning at least a few of the Democrats in the House crossed the aisle in favor of the vote. The bill would exempt hydropower projects of 1.5 megawatts or less from National Environmental Policy Act review and cut through the red-tape that its Republican backers say are getting in the way of green-energy projects.

Republican critics of President Barack Obama have been crying foul over the lack of domestic oil and gas production. The Obama administration notes that oil and natural gas production is near record highs and the reliance on foreign energy sources is decreasing. His critics, however, contend that most of that benefit is left over from the previous administration. Seeking to handicap his chances of capitalizing on jobs, Republicans have tried to muscle the controversial Keystone XL project, a pipeline meant to carry what some critics see as the dirtiest type of oil on the planet, past a presidential review. Obama is a job killer that's too cozy with radical environmentalists, his critics say.

But might this Republican-backed hydropower bill actually make sense? Republican lawmakers, apart from the obligatory jobs claim, note the measure would go a long way to support what Obama calls his "all-of-the-above" energy policy. They say it would be an inexpensive means to advance hydroelectric power because the bill would authorize development on existing man-made water canals and pipes. Democrats, however, complain NEPA approval is necessary.

"I voted against H.R. 2842 because it would exempt small conduit hydropower development from being covered by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)," Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said in response to queries from Oilprice.com. "Despite repeated attempts by my Democratic colleagues to remove this exemption during committee markup and again with an amendment on the House floor, it remained in the bill." 

California last year emerged from a severe drought, which may in part be the reason for some of the objections to the legislation. The language makes specific mention to waterways "operated for the distribution of water for agricultural, municipal, or industrial consumption." Perhaps Republicans would later use the legislation as fodder against tougher environmental regulations, but at least on the surface, this bill seems to make sense. Senate leaders this week made a rare show of bipartisanship in passing a key transportation bill. Perhaps the hydropower bill stands a chance.

By. Daniel J. Graeber of Oilprice.com




Back to homepage

Trending Discussions


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News