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ENERGY POLICIES MUST BE BALANCED WITH ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS, NATIONAL HYDROPOWER ASSOCIATION SAYS

 WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Hydropower Association issued the following:
 It is critical that the delicate balance between environmental concerns and energy policies at both the state and federal levels be maintained in reauthorization of the Clean Water Act, the National Hydropower Association testified today at a hearing held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Water, Fisheries and Wildlife.
 NHA President Roger Woodworth expressed the association's strong support for Clean Water reauthorization, but asked the subcommittee to proceed with caution so that duplicative and conflicting regulations are not added to the legislation concerning the licensing of hydroelectric projects. "As an active participant in the use and enjoyment of the nation's waterways, NHA applauds the general approach adopted in S. 1114 maintaining the ecological integrity of our nation's waterways and surrounding watersheds. This comprehensive approach to protecting water quality is in keeping with the lessons learned by the hydropower industry and others in our years of stewardship over these important national resources. NHA is concerned, however, that proposals to license and construct new hydropower projects and proposals to relicense existing hydropower projects will be subject to duplicative and conflicting regulation. The holistic approach of S. 1114 must be expanded to account for the comprehensive authority that Congress has granted federal agencies in other federal statutes -- most particularly for our industry, the Federal Power Act."
 Although hydroelectric generation introduces no pollutants into waterways, federally licensed facilities must comply with all state and federal water quality regulations in order to obtain a new license. Currently, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has the final authority concerning this process. S. 1114 proposes that states be given more jurisdiction and allowed to impose conditions that could negatively impact hydroelectric projects. Those conditions include giving states overriding authority in designating the use of a waterway that runs through its boundaries. NHA believes this proposed expansion of state authority is not necessary and would seriously undermine vital national interests that are already the subject of congressionally mandated comprehensive regulation. It is the position of NHA that energy issues are national ones and should continue to have federal oversight as is mandated by the Federal Power Act. No state should have overriding authority where national interests are at stake.
 NHA supports clean water legislation, and as good stewards of the environment, we support the efforts of this subcommittee to protect our nation's waterways. However, NHA suggests that splintering authority over state and federal interests with respect to water use may result in competing regulations that could undermine public interests. We are ardent promoters of a comprehensive and fair approach to maintaining and improving water quality. As an already highly federally regulated industry that uses the waterways to produce clean, efficient, low-cost, renewable power for public use, the hydropower industry has a large interest in the proper and fair regulation of that use. Any action taken that would grant states authority over the use, as opposed to the quality of, interstate waters must proceed only in full recognition of national interests in addition to maintenance of water quality. Just as the approach to resource protection has recognized the need to expand its scope to encompass entire watersheds, ecosystems, and bioregions, so too must water quality or other environmental protection legislation look forward and embrace a broader universe that includes the economic, energy supply and other compelling public demands that we as a nation must serve.
 -0- 8/5/93
 /CONTACT: Karolyn Wolf, director, public Affairs, National Hydropower Association, 202-637-8115/


CO: National Hydropower Association ST: District of Columbia IN: OIL ENV SU: LEG

IH-TW -- DC015 -- 9841 08/05/93 11:28 EDT
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Date:Aug 5, 1993
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