Sens. Cantwell & Murkowski Introduce Bill to Incentivize Hydropower Grid Resilience, Safety and Environmental Performance, and Dam Removal

June 28, 2021

American Rivers * National Hydropower Association*The Nature Conservancy * Low Impact Hydropower Institute

Tax incentives are critical component of a larger infrastructure effort to advance hydropower, dam safety, and healthy rivers.

June 24, 2021


Amy Kober, American Rivers, (503) 708-1145

LeRoy Coleman, National Hydropower Association, (202) 750-8405

Eric Bontrager, The Nature Conservancy, (703) 887-0559

Shannon Ames, Low Impact Hydropower Institute, (339) 970-9337

The above organizations released the following statement today in response to Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) introduction of the Maintaining Baseload Hydroelectricity and River Restoration Act of 2021. Specifically, the bill would create a 30% Investment Tax Credit to support grid resilience, dam safety upgrades, and environmental enhancements at existing hydropower facilities, and the removal of obsolete dams, with direct pay option for public power. 

“This effort is critical to the future of our nation’s infrastructure. We applaud the senators’ bipartisan leadership in introducing a billto help preserve the 100 GW of existing hydropower while incentivizing dam safety, environmental improvements for healthy rivers, and dam removal. 

Recognizing the importance of the health of our rivers and hydropower, Senators Cantwell and Murkowski are moving forward a critical piece of a negotiated proposal between conservationgroups, dam safety organizations, 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 determined by their owners to have reached the end of their useful life, and incentivize investments to reduce environmental impacts and improve the efficiency of federal hydropower facilities. We urge Congress to pass a final bill that includes all elements of our proposal. 

The infrastructure plans under consideration in Congress present a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Urgent investments are needed to improve dam safety, including removing dams determined by their owners to 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.”