Federal legislation has been reintroduced by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., to promote development of small hydropower and conduit projects.
Conduit projects fit existing man-made structures, such as canals, with electric generating equipment.
Her proposed legislation, introduced with Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., also would direct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to study the feasibility of a streamlined two-year permitting process.
"Unleashing American ingenuity to increase hydropower production will lower energy costs and help create thousands of jobs," McMorris Rodgers said in a statement.
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The House of Representatives passed the legislation last year. But while there was bipartisan support for the bill in the Senate, it did not come to a vote before the end of the session.