Reid submits testimony to Senate water and power subcommittee hearing
June 9, 2010
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid today submitted testimony to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power. In his statement, Reid expressed support for his legislation, the Hoover Power Allocation Act of 2009 (S. 2891), that will distribute for another 50 years Nevada’s share of clean renewable energy generated at the Hoover Dam. Arizona and California’s allocation of Hoover power will also be extended by the Act. Reid advocated for the quick authorization of the Hoover Power Allocation Act to ensure that California, Arizona and specifically Nevada continue to receive reliable clean power.
Below are his remarks as prepared:
“Thank you Chairman Stabenow and Senator Brownback for the opportunity to address your subcommittee about our bipartisan proposal to reauthorize power allocations from the Hoover Dam.
“Completing the Hoover Dam and harnessing the Colorado River over 70 years ago was a game-changer for the southwest. The dam allowed new communities to thrive using water from the river, while also providing reliable clean power to millions in Nevada, California and Arizona.
“Congress first distributed the clean renewable power from Hoover Dam in 1928 - though it was called Boulder Canyon Dam at that time - and then again in 1984, through allocations to three states, and several municipalities and utilities. The contracts for delivery of the power between the Western Area Power Administration and these entities will expire in 2017, and Western has announced that it will distribute Hoover power allocations in the event that Congress does not reauthorize those allocations first.
“To ensure that power continues to be delivered reliably to Nevadans, Arizonans, and Californians, and that there is no legal uncertainty, I think it’s important that Congress reauthorize these power allocations as soon as possible and while we have broad bipartisan agreement between the major stakeholders.
“Last December, I introduced the Hoover Power Allocation Act of 2009, together with Senators John Ensign, Barbara Boxer, and Dianne Feinstein. Congresswoman Grace Napolitano introduced a companion bill, which attracted 43 cosponsors, and was reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources in May. I’m glad to note that the House passed the Congresswoman’s bill yesterday on suspension.
“The Hoover Power Allocation Act was developed after two years of negotiations, securing the consensus of the States of Nevada, California and Arizona. Under the modified allocation formula, Nevada will retain its share of nearly 25 percent of Hoover power. At the same time, Hoover power will be made available to even more entities through a five percent resource pool. Indian tribes and other entities that are currently ineligible to buy low-cost Hoover power will have access to the new resource pool.
“At a time when we’re looking for good, clean energy investments, it is fitting and timely to ensure access to reliable, low-cost, zero-emission power from Hoover Dam. The Hoover Dam is also one of the Southwest’s largest clean energy projects. And in exchange for 2,080 megawatts of reliable, clean baseload electricity, Hoover power users – not the Federal Government – pay for the operations, maintenance, and replacement of Hoover Dam’s power equipment.
“By 2017, they will have invested nearly $2 billion, and they will pay another $1.6 billion through the life of this Act. This investment will employ hundreds of people and supply clean hydroelectric power to over 29 million in Nevada, California and Arizona.
“It is difficult to overestimate the importance of reauthorizing Hoover power allocations. Hoover power plays a vital role in municipal and industrial operations in southern Nevada. The Southern Nevada Water Authority draws about 10 percent of its power from the dam for the utility’s water works operations. Additionally, NV Energy receives about 53 percent of Nevada’s allocation, which helps Nevadans meet peak demands at lower costs.
“The Colorado River Commission delivers Hoover power to municipalities like: Boulder City; Lincoln County; Overton Power District; Valley Electric Association. The Commission also delivers power to Nevada industries at the Basic Management Industrial Complex near Henderson.
“In addition to ensuring reliable, clean electricity for millions of people, reauthorizing Hoover power allocations also supports continued environmental protection on the Lower Colorado River.
“Hoover contractors are committed to providing over $150 million over 50 years for the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program (MSCP). This program maintains wildlife habitat on the Lower Colorado River, protecting 26 endangered, threatened and sensitive species along 400 river miles. And it will create more than 8,100 acres of riparian, marsh and backwater habitat for Lower Colorado River species.
“Passing the Hoover Power Allocation Act is important to ensuring these environmental benefits and securing much-needed investments in the Hoover Power facilities over the next 50 years. Thank you again for the opportunity to be here with you today. I request that my statement be included in the record, as well as eight letters of support for the Hoover Power Allocation Act from Nevada utilities and industries.”
RenoBruce R. Thompson
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