• 3 minutes Will Iron-Air batteries REALLY change things?
  • 7 minutes Natural gas mobility for heavy duty trucks
  • 11 minutes NordStream2
  • 3 hours GREEN NEW DEAL = BLIZZARD OF LIES
  • 2 hours U.S. Presidential Elections Status - Electoral Votes
  • 2 days Evergrande is going Belly Up.
  • 8 hours Is China Rising or Falling? Has it Enraged the World and Lost its Way? How is their Economy Doing?
  • 17 hours Monday 9/13 - "High Natural Gas Prices Today Will Send U.S. Production Soaring Next Year" by Irina Slav
  • 1 day Poland Expands LNG Powered Trucking and Fueling Stations
  • 2 days World’s Biggest Battery In California Overheats, Shuts Down
  • 16 hours The unexpected loss of output from wind turbines compels UK to turn to an alternative; It's not what you think!
  • 3 hours Ten Years of Plunging Solar Prices
  • 6 hours Extraction of gasoline from crude oil.
  • 3 days The coming Cyber Attack
  • 3 days Is the Republican Party going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on January 6th?
  • 3 days Ozone layer destruction driving global warming
  • 3 days 'Get A Loan,' Commerce Chief Tells Unpaid Federal Workers
The Dark Side Of Hydropower

The Dark Side Of Hydropower

Hydropower dwarfs solar and wind…

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

Premium Content

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


Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage





Leave a comment

Leave a comment




EXXON Mobil -0.35
Open57.81 Trading Vol.6.96M Previous Vol.241.7B
BUY 57.15
Sell 57.00
Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News