This bill would reform the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) reviews and procedures for approving licenses to build and operate hydroelectric power facilities. It would make FERC the lead agency for all hydropower authorizations, approvals, and requirements mandated by federal law while minimizing the duplication of studies. Additionally, it would modify the definition of renewable energy to include hydropower, extend the timeframe for a preliminary permit from 3 to 4 years, and extend the time limit for construction “for not more than 8 additional years.”
Procedures would be established for trial-type hearings conducted by an Administrative Law Judge to resolve disputes about conditions and fishway requirements under the Federal Power Act.
Reforms contained in this bill would have no impact on the Clean Water Act, the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, the Endangered Species Act, Rivers and Harbors Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act.