Roundup of Recent Hydro-Related State Policy Activity

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Roundup of Recent Hydro-Related State Policy Activity

DATE:

June 1, 2021

BY:

Dennis Cakert, Senior Manager of Regulatory Affairs and State Policy, NHA

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Roundup of Recent Hydro-Related State Policy Activity

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The National Hydropower Association (NHA) regularly tracks policy activity at the state level. Over the past few months, state policy makers have been busy. This article provides a few highlights of activity in the areas of dam safety, clean energy, endangered species, and water quality, as well as information on how to provide feedback or ask questions.

For its member organizations, NHA offers free access to Stateside Monitoring, a regulatory and legislative tracking service for state policy.

“This access is one of the many benefits we offer to employees of our member organizations,” said Diane Lear, NHA’s vice president of operations and member services. “One of NHA’s value propositions to members is to help get employees of member organizations the information they need to learn about policies and, importantly, connect with the policy makers to influence outcomes.”

Details about advantages of becoming an NHA member can be found HERE.

DAM SAFETY

California

The California Division of Safety of Dams issued a proposed rule (pages 583-587) creating a new section 306 which clarifies enforcement actions against non-compliant dam owners.

A public hearing is set for Monday, July 12 at 10:00 am PT. Written comments are due July 15 by 5:00pm PT.

Any questions should be directed to Shawn.Jones@water.ca.gov or Peter.Thyberg@water.ca.gov

Michigan

State lawmakers announced a $500 million proposal to improve dam safety, following the results of Michigan’s investigation into the failures of the Edenville and Sanford dams.

Questions and feedback can be directed to Michigan House Speaker Jason Wentworth at JasonWentworth@house.mi.gov

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania proposed the first substantive revision to state dam safety regulations since 1991. The Environmental Quality Board is expected to review the rule in the second half of 2021, at which time there may be a public comment period. A final rule could be adopted in 2022.

Questions regarding the Environmental Quality Board review can be directed to laurgriffi@pa.gov

CLEAN ENERGY

California

California Joint Agencies are discussing how to develop new energy resources, including pumped storage. There are two public meetings on June 2 at 10:00am PT and 2:00pm PT. The meetings are the next step following the Joint Agencies’ report published in March.

Questions and concerns can be directed to terra.weeks@energy.ca.gov

Colorado 

Governor Jared Polis signed legislation declaring new pumped storage under 15 MW an eligible energy resource under Colorado’s renewable portfolio standard, as long as: the pump is not powered by fossil fuels; the project is not located on a natural waterway; and the project does not jeopardize fish or water quality.

Questions and concerns can be directed to House Speaker Alec Garnett alec.garnett.house@state.co.us and Senate President Leroy M. Garcia leroy.garcia.senate@state.co.us

New York

The New York Department of Public Service (DPS) clarified eligibility for “repowered” hydroelectric facilities to qualify for Tier 1 Renewable Energy Credits. The changes are part of the DPS’s Large Scale Renewable Program and Clean Energy Standard.

Questions and concerns can be directed to Robert.Rosenthal@dps.ny.gov

ENDANGERED SPECIES

California

The Fish and Game Commission received a petition to list the Upper Klamath−Trinity River spring Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act.

Interested parties may contact Shaffer@wildlife.ca.gov

New York

The Department of Environmental Conservation adopted revisions to the list of endangered, threatened, and special concern species.

Interested parties may contact wildlife@dec.ny.gov

North Carolina

The Department of Environmental Quality published a notice of proposed rules making changes to threatened and endangered species designations.

WATER QUALITY

Minnesota

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) solicited comment on the need for amendments and revisions to rules governing state water quality standard. Comments were due April 8, 2021. Based on feedback, MPCA will issue a proposed a rule with a 30-day comment period.

Questions or concerns can be submitted to minnrule7050.pca@state.mn.us

North Carolina

North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality issued a proposed rule on May 17 with a public hearing July 20 and comments due August 3.

Questions and comments can be submitted to Christopher Ventaloro at North Carolina DEQ

Virginia

Virginia solicited feedback on updates to the state’s water quality standards. Public comments were due March 31. The agency intends to hold a public meeting and 60-day comment period after reviewing the comments and determining what changes are necessary.

Questions and concerns can be submitted to david.whitehurst@deq.virginia.gov