U.S. House passes hydropower bill

March 8, 2012 at 6:26 AM

WASHINGTON, March 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure that its backers say would utilize renewable hydropower and enhance energy security.

The House passed legislation, largely along partisan lines, that streamlines the process for the development of hydroelectric power on existing canals and other waterways controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

"This bill makes significant strides in encouraging the development of clean, renewable hydropower and getting people back to work in some of America's hardest hit rural communities," U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., the bill's sponsor, said in a statement.

The House measure waives compliance with certain federal provisions that are normally given only after projects meet regulatory criteria regarding environmental impacts.

The White House had said it aims to generate 80 percent of domestic energy needs from renewable resources by 2035.

"Responsibly developing these resources will help address rising energy costs, while also creating good-paying jobs and improving our energy security," Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, said in a statement.

The bill passed 265-154. It heads to the Democratic-controlled Senate.

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