May 27, 2021
Contact: Amy Souers Kober, 503-708-115
American Rivers, American Whitewater and the Hydropower Reform Coalition released this statement today in response to the Senate Finance Committee’s markup of the Clean Energy for America Act and a proposed amendment that would create tax incentives for hydropower, safety and environmental improvements to dams, and dam removal:
We appreciate Senator Maria Cantwell’s leadership in introducing a proposal to use the federal tax code to incentivize investment in dam safety, environmental improvements for rivers impacted by hydropower, and dam removal. Outstanding issues remain with respect to appropriate environmental safeguards for investments in hydropower infrastructure. We look forward to resolving these issues as the legislation continues to move forward.
In addition, the tax incentives are but one part of a negotiated proposal between conservation groups and the hydropower industry for investment in the rehabilitation, retrofit, and removal of dams. The full package would increase federal financial assistance to improve dam safety, create a source of funding for removal of dams that have reached the end of their useful life, and investment in research to reduce environmental impacts and improve efficiency of hydropower facilities. Any legislation that is voted on the Senate floor must include these additional elements.
The infrastructure plans under consideration in Congress present a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address our nation’s aging dams. Urgent investments are needed to improve dam safety, including removing dams that have outlived their usefulness. These investments would also bring environmental improvements, restoration of natural systems and increased resilience of rivers to the effects of climate change, all while improving the performance of existing hydropower.