Hydropower industry pushes for parity on Capitol Hill

More than 100 members of the National Hydropower Association packed a House committee room on Capitol Hill May 11, rallying for equal treatment of hydropower as the world’s largest, most reliable renewable energy source.

The �Making Hydro Count� rally in the Longworth House Office Building kicked off three days of the NHA Annual Conference, May 11-13 at the nearby Capital Hilton Hotel. (HNN 5/12/09)

Hydro industry delegates met with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., a founder of the Congressional Hydropower Caucus, a bipartisan group of House members formed in 2008 to educate other members and staff about the benefits of hydropower. (HNN 8/11/08)

McMorris Rodgers said she worked to create the caucus due to her constituents’ concerns about environmentalist efforts to remove four Corps of Engineers hydroelectric projects on the Lower Snake River in her congressional district.

Seven environmental groups recently called on President Obama to change federal river operations �up to and including removal of the four lower Snake River dams.� (HNN 5/5/09) The four Corps dams — 634.6-MW Ice Harbor, 810-MW Little Goose, 810-MW Lower Granite, and 810-MW Lower Monumental — are targeted in federal court by dam removal advocates attacking the latest NOAA Fisheries’ biological opinion for operating the Columbia River Basin hydropower system.

McMorris Rodgers said inexpensive hydropower built much of the West and today powers aluminum, aircraft, computer, and Internet server industries.

�I’m concerned when you talk about tearing out dams,� she said. �That’s a slippery slope.�

The congresswoman told HydroNews.net and HydroWorld.com that the bipartisan nature of the Congressional Hydropower Caucus gave her hope that the Democratic administration also can be educated to the benefits of retaining and expanding the nation’s hydroelectric assets despite environmentalist pressure. She noted Obama spoke in favor of hydropower during his presidential campaign, at one point even visiting Voith Hydro turbine manufacturing facilities. (HNN 9/5/08)

HNA honors Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters

NHA used the venue, in the House Natural Resources Committee meeting room, to announce the 2009 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters, four hydropower producers that developed groundbreaking, collaborative projects that expand the U.S. hydropower industry’s work in providing clean, affordable, domestic energy.

Winners include the New York Power Authority, Puget Sound Energy, Yuba County (Calif.) Water Agency, and TransCanada.

The first three winners were recognized in the category of recreational, environmental, and historical enhancement:
o NYPA for creation of lake sturgeon spawning beds at its 912-MW St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt project in New York (HNN 11/23/07);
o PSE for construction of a salmon and steelhead floating surface collector at its 170.03-MW Baker River project in Washington (HNN 10/23/08); and
o Yuba County for its Lower Yuba River Accord that addresses key economic and environmental priorities in the area of its four hydro projects on the Yuba: 315-MW New Colgate, 47-MW Narrows 2, 2-MW Deadwood Creek, and 150-kW Fish Release. (HNN 8/11/08)

The fourth award went to TransCanada in the public education category for TransCanada’s video of its rehabilitation of the 100-year-old 32.4-MW Vernon Station on the Connecticut River in New Hampshire and Vermont. (HNN 8/12/08)

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