CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, October 3, 2011, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 470 under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval. H.R. 470 was introduced by Rep. Joseph Heck (R-NV) on January 26, 2011, and was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which reported the bill on June 15, 2011, by unanimous consent.
H.R. 470 would modify the allocation of electrical power generated by the Hoover Dam among a number of various power consumers and create a new group of users eligible for power allocation from the Dam. The bill would provide for revised power allocations among several different power users primarily in California, Nevada, and Arizona which would take effect when the current allocations under the Hoover Power Plant Act (HPPA) expire in 2017. The new allocations would remain in effect under a 50 year contract through 2067. H.R. 470 would also mandate that each current Schedule A and B power user give up five percent of its Hoover power resource so that a new pool (Schedule D) is set aside for new allottees in the Hoover Dam region.
In addition to modifying power allocations under HPPA, H.R. 470 would make a number of modifications to current Hoover Dam power allocation requirements. Specifically, the bill would Create a Schedule D list of new allottees to receive that 10 percent of power set aside from recipients in Schedules A and B and would require the Secretary of Interior to ensure that new schedule D allottees are entities not currently receiving power under Schedules A and B. Under the bill, the Secretary would be required to return any power not allotted to entities under Schedule D by October 1, 2017 to the recipients under Schedules A and B. In addition, H.R. 470 would allocate the delivery of power to the Schedule D allottees through the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA).
According to House Report 112-159, the Boulder Canyon Project Act of 1928 authorized the construction of what is now the Hoover Dam. Upon its completion in 1935, it was the tallest dam and the largest hydroelectric producer in the world. Although it is no longer either, it still annually produces an average of 2,074 megawatts, depending on the year. This is the equivalent of two average nuclear plants and enough to power over 20 million homes. In order to finance the building of the Hoover Dam and its power plant, the federal government partnered with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the California cities of Los Angeles, Glendale, Pasadena and Burbank, Southern California Edison Company, the Arizona Power Authority, the Colorado River Commission of Nevada and the City of Boulder, Nevada (collectively known as Schedule A contractors). These power users received 50-year contracts as a result of this partnership.
In 1984, Congress approved the Hoover Power Plant Act to extend the original power-use contracts and authorize funding for the Hoover Dam’s power turbines. The bill also allocated new power resources made available as a result of those upgrades to new entities, known as Schedule B contractors. Under the legislation, those allocation levels expire in 2017. The underlying bill would modify power allocation allotments and provide a new 50 year allocation contract, through FY 2067.
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 470 “would have a negligible effect on net direct spending and spending subject to appropriation.” In addition, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would affect direct spending because it could impact the amount of money received from offsetting receipts. However, CBO estimates that this impact would be “negligible.”