President Obama gives OK for small hydropower project in Denali


President Barack Obama has signed off on legislation that will allow for the construction of a 50 kW small hydropower project within Alaska’s Denali National Park.

The Denali National Park Improvement Act — officially known as Senate Bill 157 — was approved unanimously by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in March before being passed to the House for consideration.

The bill directs the National Park Service to issue a special-use permit to speed the plant’s development and provides the authority to exchange 10 acres of land from owner Doyon Ltd. for its construction. reported in January that the project will be built on Eureka Creek to power Katishna Roadhouse, which is a Doyon-owned lodge about 100 miles into the park. Currently, power for the roadhouse is provided by diesel generators.

“Hydropower provides clean, renewable electricity, and we should pursue its use wherever possible,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said after the bill was approved by the Senate committee. “It makes sense to develop a small hydro project within the park to allow Doyon to substantially reduce its reliance on diesel fuel.”

S.B. 157 is only the latest piece of hydropower development legislation to receive Obama’s signature.

In August, the President enacted the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013 and the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act.

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