218 Conservation, recreation, and faith organizations oppose H.R. 8's hydropower provisions

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A coalition of conservation, recreation and faith-based organizations sent a letter yesterday to the US House of Representatives urging them to oppose H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act.

The bill, which is expected to be introduced on the House floor soon, includes provisions that would gut landmark environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act and the Federal Power Act in hydropower licensing and permitting.

The McMorris Rodgers-McNerney Amendment to H.R. 8 would allow hydropower companies to avoid compliance with the Endangered Species Act. In addition, if this amendment were to become law, it will be much more difficult to recover threatened and endangered populations of Pacific salmonids, shad, sturgeon, and Atlantic salmon, or any other aquatic species whose access to spawning habitat is blocked by power company dams. Further, the McMorris Rodgers-McNerney Amendment would allow large utilities to ignore state and tribal requirements under the Clean Water Act that their dams meet water quality standards.

These 218 groups join the states of Oregon, Maryland, and California in opposing the H.R. 8 due to these provisions that would upend the balancing that currently exists in hydropower licensing between power generation and resource protection.

The bill is backed by large corporations like Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Duke Energy and Southern Company who claim that the provisions are necessary. However, these same provisions take us back to the 17th century when we didn’t care about our natural resources.