S. Rept. 113-69 - 113th Congress (2013-2014)
June 27, 2013, As Reported by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee

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Senate Report 113-69 - COLLINSVILLE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROMOTION

[Senate Report 113-69]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


                                                       Calendar No. 123
113th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                     113-69

======================================================================



 
                COLLINSVILLE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROMOTION

                                _______
                                

                 June 27, 2013.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Wyden, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 316]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the Act (H.R. 316) to reinstate and transfer certain 
hydroelectric licenses and extend the deadline for commencement 
of construction of certain hydroelectric projects, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the Act, as amended, do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
    Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Collinsville Renewable Energy 
Production Act''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act:
          (1) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the Federal 
        Energy Regulatory Commission.
          (2) License.--The term ``license'' means--
                  (A) the license for Commission project number 10822;
                  (B) the license for Commission project number 10823; 
                or
                  (C) both.
          (3) Town.--The term ``Town'' means the town of Canton, 
        Connecticut.

SEC. 3. REINSTATEMENT, EXTENSION, AND TRANSFER OF EXPIRED LICENSES.

  Notwithstanding the termination of the license, the Commission may, 
at the request of the Town, in accordance with section 4(a), and after 
reasonable notice--
          (1) reinstate the licence;
          (2) extend for 2 years after the date on which the license is 
        reinstated the time period during which the licensee is 
        required to commence the construction of the project subject to 
        the license; and
          (3) subject to section 4, transfer the license to the Town.

SEC. 4. CONDITIONS OF TRANSFER.

  (a) Application for Transfer.--The Town may request the 
reinstatement, extension, and transfer of the license by filing an 
application for approval of the transfer.
  (b) Contents of Application.--The application for approval of the 
transfer shall set forth in appropriate detail the qualifications of 
the Town to hold the license and to operate the property under license, 
which qualifications shall be the same as those required of applicants 
for the license.
  (c) Commission Approval.--The Commission may approve the transfer on 
a showing that the transfer is in the public interest.
  (d) Terms and Conditions of Licenses.--The Town shall be subject to--
          (1) all the conditions of the license and all the provisions 
        and conditions of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 791a et 
        seq.), as though the Town were the original licensee; and
          (2) any additional terms and conditions the Commission 
        determines to be necessary, including conditions for the 
        protection, mitigation, and enhancement of fish and wildlife 
        and related habitat under sections 10(j) and 18 of the Federal 
        Power Act (16 U.S.C. 803(j), 811).

SEC. 5. ADMINISTRATION.

  The Commission shall supplement the environmental impact statement or 
similar analysis required under the National Environmental Policy Act 
of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) prepared in connection with the 
issuance of the original license to examine all new circumstances and 
information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the 
reinstatement of the license or the impact of the license.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of H.R. 316 is to reinstate and transfer 
certain hydroelectric licenses and extend the deadline for 
commencement of construction of certain hydroelectric projects.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    The Upper and Lower Collinsville Dams on the Farmington 
River in Connecticut have not produced power since 1966. In 
2001, FERC issued licenses to Summit Hydropower to redevelop 
hydroelectric power capacity at the dams. Summit did not 
commence construction within the original two-year requirement 
or the two-year extension granted by FERC and as a result, in 
2007, FERC terminated the licenses.
    The Town of Canton, Connecticut is interested in 
redeveloping hydropower at the Collinsville dams and has 
received a preliminary permit from FERC to undertake the 
feasibility studies necessary to move forward with the 
projects. The power estimated to be produced from each project 
is less than 5 megawatts and the projects may be eligible for 
an exemption from FERC's licensing requirements. The bill, as 
passed by the House, would substitute Congressional action for 
the existing FERC process.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 316 was introduced by Representative Esty and passed 
the House by voice vote on February 12, 2013. Senate Amendment 
579, an amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 316, 
was introduced by Senators Murphy and Blumenthal on March 22, 
2013. The Subcommittee on Water and Power held a hearing on 
H.R. 316 and S. Amdt. 579 on April 16, 2013. At its business 
meeting on May 16, 2013, the Committee ordered H.R. 316 
favorably reported by voice vote, with an amendment in the 
nature of a substitute.
    In the 112th Congress, Senators Lieberman and Blumenthal 
introduced similar legislation in the Senate, S. 715. Then-
Representative Murphy introduced similar legislation in the 
House, H.R. 1353 and H.R. 5625, and the House passed H.R. 5625 
on June 26, 2012. The Subcommittee on Water and Power held a 
hearing on S. 715 on June 23, 2011 (S. Hrg. 112-129).
    In the 111th Congress, then-Representative Murphy 
introduced similar legislation in the House, H.R. 3228 and H.R. 
4451, and Senators Dodd and Lieberman introduced similar 
legislation in the Senate, S. 3532. The House passed H.R. 4451 
on June 16, 2010, but the Senate took no further action.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on May 16, 2013, by a voice vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 316, if 
amended as described herein.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENT

    During its consideration of H.R. 316, the Committee adopted 
an amendment in the nature of a substitute. The provisions of 
the substitute are described in more detail in the section-by-
section analysis.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 provides the short title, the ``Collinsville 
Renewable Energy Production Act''.
    Section 2 defines key terms in the bill.
    Section 3 authorizes the Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission (Commission) to reinstate the license for Commission 
project numbers 10822 and 10823, to extend the time period for 
the licensee to commence construction of the project work for 
up to 2 years, and to transfer the license to the Town of 
Canton.
    Section 4 establishes the conditions for transfer of the 
license to the Town of Canton, including the application, 
approval, and terms and conditions.
    Section 5 directs the Commission to supplement the 
environmental impact statement or similar analysis required 
under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq.) prepared in connection with the issuance of the 
original license in order to examine new circumstances and 
relevant information bearing on the reinstatement or impact of 
the license.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of costs of H.R. 316 has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:

H.R. 316--Collinsville Renewable Energy Promotion Act

    H.R. 316 would authorize the Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission (FERC) to reinstate the licenses and extend the 
deadline for beginning construction of two hydroelectric 
projects (numbers 10822 and 10823) in Hartford County, 
Connecticut. The legislation would direct FERC to update the 
environmental analyses associated with those projects and, if 
reinstated, authorize the agency to transfer the licenses to 
the town of Canton, Connecticut.
    Based on information from FERC, CBO estimates that 
implementing H.R. 316 would have a small impact on the agency's 
workload. Because FERC recovers 100 percent of its costs 
through user fees, any change in its administrative costs would 
be offset by an equal change in fees that the commission 
charges. Therefore, the legislation's provisions would have no 
net budgetary impact. Because FERC's administrative costs are 
controlled through annual appropriation acts, enacting H.R. 316 
would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-
as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    H.R. 316 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    On January 31, 2013, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for 
H.R. 316 as ordered reported by the House Committee on Energy 
and Commerce on January 22, 2013. The two versions of the 
legislation are similar, and the CBO cost estimates are the 
same.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Megan Carroll. 
The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out H.R. 316.
    The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of 
imposing Government-established standards or significant 
economic responsibilities on private individuals and 
businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of H.R. 316, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    H.R. 316, as reported, does not contain any congressionally 
directed spending items, limited tax benefits, or limited 
tariff benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the Standing Rules 
of the Senate.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The testimony provided by the Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission at the April 16, 2013, Subcommittee on Water and 
Power hearing on H.R. 316 and S. Amendment 579 follows:

   Testimony of John Katz, Deputy Associate General Counsel, Federal 
                     Energy Regulatory Commission,

    Chairman Schatz, Ranking Member Lee, and Members of the 
Subcommittee:
    My name is John Katz, Deputy Associate General Counsel for 
Energy Projects, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. I 
appreciate the opportunity to appear before you to discuss S. 
Amdt. 579 and H.R. 316. As a member of the Commission's staff, 
the views I express in this testimony are my own, and not those 
of the Chairman or of any individual Commissioner, other than 
as specifically noted below.


                             i. background


    On February 23, 2001, the Commission issued original 
licenses to Summit Hydropower for the 373 kilowatt (kW) Upper 
and the 920 kW Lower Collinsville Hydro Projects, to be located 
at the Upper and Lower Collinsville Dams on the Farmington 
River, in Hartford County, Connecticut.
    Section 13 of the Federal Power Act requires that licensees 
commence project Construction by the deadline established in 
the license, which may be no longer than two years from the 
date of license issuance. The Commission may extend the 
deadline once, for no longer than two additional years. If 
construction does not timely commence, section 13 requires the 
Commission to terminate the license by written order.
    Consistent with section 13, Article 301 of the licenses for 
the Collinsville Upper and Lower Hydroelectric Projects 
required the licensee to commence project construction within 
two years. On November 26, 2002, at the licensee's request, the 
Commission issued the maximum allowable two-year extension, 
moving the commencement of construction deadline to February 
23, 2005.
    Summit did not commence project construction by the 
deadline. Accordingly, by letter dated November 2, 2007, the 
Commission gave Summit notice of probable termination of the 
licenses. Summit did not reply to the notice. By order issued 
December 4, 2007, the Commission terminated the project 
licensees. The licensee did not seek rehearing of the 
termination order, which therefore became final on January 3, 
2008.


                     ii. s. amdt. 579 and h.r. 316


    S. Amdt. 579 and H.R. 316 would authorize the Commission to 
reinstate either or both of the licenses for the Upper and 
Lower Collinsville Projects, to extend for two years the 
commencement of construction deadline for the projects, and to 
transfer the license or licenses to the Town. As specified in 
S. Amdt. 579, the Town would be subject to the terms and 
conditions of the prior license(s) and both bills provide that 
the Commission will add to the license(s) any additional terms 
and conditions the Commission deems to be necessary.
    In addition, both bills provide that the Commission will 
supplement the environmental analysis prepared in connection 
with the issuance of the prior licenses, to examine all new 
circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns 
relating to the reinstated licenses.
    Chairman Wellinghoff and the last several Commission 
Chairmen have taken the position of not opposing legislation 
that would extend the commencement of construction deadline no 
further than 10 years from the date that the license in 
question was issued. Where proposed extensions would run beyond 
that time, there has been a sense that the J n 16 public 
interest is better served by releasing the site for other 
public uses, that competition in the development of hydropower 
projects should be encouraged, and that environmental 
information may over time become stale.
    In this instance, the proposed extensions would run at 
least three years beyond 10 years from when the licenses for 
the Upper and Lower Collinsville Projects were issued. However, 
to Commission staffs knowledge, in the more than five years 
since the project licenses were terminated, no entity has 
sought to develop the projects or proposed other uses for the 
project sites, thus ameliorating concerns about competition or 
release of the sites. Moreover, because the bills specifically 
provide for the preparation of an updated environmental 
analysis, staleness of the environmental record will not be an 
issue. In consequence, I am authorized to state that Chairman 
Wellinghoff does not oppose S. Amdt. 579 or H.R. 316.
    I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by H.R. 316, as ordered 
reported.