CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.R. 2008 is being considered on the floor on Tuesday, June 8, 2010, under a motion to suspend the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote. This legislation was introduced by Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) on April 21, 2009, and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which reported the bill on September 10, 2009, by unanimous consent.
H.R. 2008 would permanently defer the costs that private entities are required to reimburse the federal government for producing hydroelectricity at the Bonneville Unit of the Diamond Fork System facility in Utah. Under current law, a private entity operating the facilities would be required to reimburse the federal government approximately $161 million for project costs borne during the construction of the two plants at the facility. Under the legislation, the Secretary of the Interior would have to report to the committees on Energy and Natural Resources if construction of hydropower plants has not begun within 24 months.
Under current law, water power developers are required to reimburse the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) for certain construction and project costs when operating a facility associated with a BOR project. Hydroelectricity providers must reimburse the government for 35% of construction of facilities as well as other associated costs with interest over a determined reimbursement period. According to House Report 111-308, the private development of 50 megawatt hydroelectricity facility has been delayed because the developer of such a facility would be required to reimburse the government $161 million in order to install turbines and begin to generate power at the idle section of facility. H.R. 2008 would defer the $161 million payment indefinitely.
While the legislation reduces payments that would be made to the government to reimburse the cost of construction of the project, CBO scores the bill as net revenue increase because it would encourage a private entity to develop the facility and pay other associated fees. According to the House Report, "Enacting the legislation would help facilitate the development of 50 megawatts of clean hydroelectric power while generating revenue for the government for the use of its water facilities." However, CBO also notes that "there are no formal development proposals currently being considered by the bureau." Thus, there is no guarantee that the facility will be developed even if the reimbursement payment is deferred.
According to CBO, H.R. 2008 would "increase offsetting receipts (a credit against direct spending) by $400,000 a year over the 2015-2019 period, or a total collection of $2 million."