H.R.3043 – Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017

TheWeekInCongress.com (TM)

Week ending November 10, 2017

H.R.3043 – Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017


It is the sense of Congress that hydropower is a renewable resource for purposes of all Federal programs and is an essential source of energy in the United States; and  the United States should increase substantially the capacity and generation of clean, renewable hydropower that  would improve environmental quality in the United States.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulates nonfederal hydropower projects. Under the Federal Power Act the agency reviews and approves licenses to construct and operate such facilities in consultation with a variety of federal, state, and local entities with regulatory responsibilities across a broad range of issues.

H.R. 3043 would specify a variety of timeframes and procedures for FERC and other affected agencies to follow in carrying out regulatory functions related to nonfederal hydropower projects.

(Full text of H.R. 3043 congress.gov)

SponsorRep. McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [R-WA-5] (Introduced 06/23/2017)

Passed House /



On Passage: On passage Passed by recorded vote: 257 – 166 (Roll no. 620)

House Amendments:

An amendment, offered by Mr. Grothman, numbered 1 printed in House Report 115-391 to require the U.S. Department of Interior consider the threat of invasive species when it makes decisions on hydropower licensing. On agreeing to the Grothman amendment; Agreed to by voice vote.

An amendment, offered by Mr. Babin, numbered 2 printed in House Report 115-391 to allow FERC to examine the licenses of any project located in an area that was declared by the President to be a disaster area in 2017. On agreeing to the Babin amendment; Agreed to by voice vote

An amendment, offered by Mr. Jenkins (WV), numbered 3 printed in House Report 115-391 to ensure that when hydro projects have an existing Memorandum of Understanding for non-federal hydropower with FERC that all relevant federal agencies are authorized to fully study and review the potential expansion of non-federal hydropower, including a review of seasonal pool levels and slowing flood releases. On agreeing to the Jenkins (WV) amendment; Agreed to by voice vote

An amendment, in the nature of a substitute offered by Mr. Rush, numbered 4 printed in House Report 115-391 to add a new section to the Federal Power Act (FPA) to improve the hydropower licensing process. It directs the Commission and the Federal resource agencies to convene a negotiated rulemaking within 90 days of enactment with state and local government representatives, Indian tribes, and stakeholders to develop a process that will coordinate all necessary Federal authorizations and enable the Commission to make a final decision on a license not later than 3 years of receiving a completed license application. On agreeing to the Rush amendment; Failed by recorded vote: 185 – 234 (Roll no. 619)

Motion to recommit:

Text of the motion:


On Passage:

Procedural Actions:

Senate Amendments:


Cost to the taxpayersCBO estimates that implementing the bill would have no significant net effect on the federal budget. The bill would not significantly affect the scope of federal agencies’ regulatory responsibilities, though CBO expects that meeting the timeframes specified in the bill might require additional funding, particularly for FERC. However, because FERC recovers 100 percent of its costs through fees, any change in that agency’s costs (which are controlled through annual appropriation acts) would be offset by an equal change in fees that the commission charges, resulting in no net change in federal spending.

Pay-as-you-go requirements:  Enacting H.R. 3043 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.

Regulatory and Other Impact: H.R. 3043 would impose intergovernmental and private-sector mandates, as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). If FERC increases fees to offset the costs of implementing the bill, the cost of an existing mandate to pay those fees would increase for public and private entities. Based on information from FERC about the potential costs of implementing the bill, CBO estimates that any incremental change in fees collected would be small. The bill would impose another mandate on state, local, and tribal agencies by requiring them to respond to FERC and acknowledge receipt of an invitation to participate in the review of a federal authorization for a hydropower project. Based on information from FERC, CBO estimates that the cost of the notification mandate would be small. In total, CBO estimates that the cost of complying with all mandates in the bill would fall below the annual thresholds established in UMRA for intergovernmental and private-sector mandates ($78 million and $156 million in 2017, respectively, adjusted annually for inflation).

Dynamic Scoring:   CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3043 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.

Tax Complexity:  Not applicable to this bill.

Earmark Certification:  Data not available

Duplication of programs: Data not available

Direct Rule-Making:  Data not available

Advisory Committee Statement: Data not available

Budget Authority: Data not available

Constitutional Authority:   Assumed.


More Bill Information:


Copyright 2017 Legislation News & Report, LLC

All Rights Reserved