Mr. TIPTON. I thank the gentleman from Washington for yielding.
Mr. Chairman, Members of the House on both sides of the aisle talk of the need for an all-of-the-above energy solution for this country, a solution that gives serious consideration to all resources, including renewable and alternative energy.
It's easy to talk about this need, but today I offer a bill that turns that talk into action. My bill, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act of 2012, is a key piece of the all-of-the-above strategy energy that our country needs in order to strengthen reliable, domestic energy production; expand development of responsible, renewable energy; generate economic growth; and get Americans working once more.
Hydropower is the cheapest and cleanest source of electricity. This is created through modern technology. It's the highest source of non-carbon emitting energy in the world, accounting for approximately 69.9 percent of the United States' total renewable electricity generation, making it the lead renewable energy resource power, according to the Hydropower Association.
In Colorado, nearly 30.7 percent of our renewable energy is hydropower, but only 3.1 percent of all Colorado is hydropower. We have a significant opportunity in Colorado to expand on this clean, renewable source of power while creating badly needed jobs for the Third District of Colorado in the process. In Colorado alone, there's enough existing capacity to generate as much power as the Glen Canyon Dam. However, as it stands, no major hydroelectric facilities have been built in many years. Existing facilities are being drained by endless litigation and regulatory obstacles that stifle production and lead to an increase in electricity prices and shortages in many regions of the country.
By streamlining the regulatory process and reducing administrative costs for small hydropower development at Reclamation's facilities, this commonsense legislation will encourage the production of clean, renewable hydropower and provide much needed opportunities for the creation of new jobs in Colorado for some of our Nation's hardest hit rural areas.
This commonsense bill garnered bipartisan support in the House Natural Resources Committee and has been endorsed by the Family Farm Alliance, the National Water Resources Association, the Association of California Water Agencies, and the American Public Power Association.
Chris Treese of the Family Farm Alliance and a constituent of mine in the Third Congressional District put it best when talking about the need for the bill: The margins on small hydro are very small. Districts need to be able to make timely investment decisions without the prospect of environmental reviews of undetermined length and expense. Additionally, Western water districts share the Nation's desire to make investments that can put people to work immediately. Environmental reviews of small hydro on existing conduits represent an unnecessary and often chilling uncertainty for an economically marginal investment.
This legislation, which applies to all projects on Reclamation conduits without exception, seeks to address this concern and fix an unwieldy environmental review process that requires small developers to jump through unnecessary and duplicative bureaucratic hoops in order to complete a project on existing conduits that has already undergone the proper environmental reviews. By doing this, the Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act of 2012 will jump-start small hydropower development through which power generated will be sent directly to the grid and also create revenues that will help pay for aging infrastructure in our communities.