Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
                                                       Calendar No. 472
107th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     107-195

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



 
                    HYDROELECTRIC LICENSE IN WYOMING

                                _______
                                

                 June 28, 2002.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1852]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 1852) to extend the deadline for 
commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project in the 
State of Wyoming, having considered the same, reports favorably 
thereon without amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                         PURPOSE OF THE MEASURE

    The purpose of S. 1852 is to authorize the Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission, at the request of the licensee, to 
extend for three consecutive two year periods the deadline for 
the licensee to commence construction of hydroelectric project 
No. 1651.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    Section 13 of the Federal Power Act requires that 
construction of a licensed hydroelectric project be commenced 
within 2 years of issuance of the license. The Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission is authorized to extend this deadline 
once, for a maximum of two additional years. If construction 
has not commenced by the end of the time period the license is 
terminated by the Commission unless legislation authorizing an 
additional extension is enacted. This legislation authorizes 
the Commission to extend the construction deadline for Project 
No. 1651.
    On December 19, 1997, the Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission issued a license to the Swift Creek Power Company to 
rehabilitate, operate, and maintain the 1.5 megawatt Swift 
Creek Project No. 1651, located in Lincoln County, Wyoming. The 
original deadline for commencing construction of the project 
was December 18, 1999. The Commission subsequently extended 
that deadline to December 18, 2001.
    Project No. 1651 includes rehabilitation of the upper 
development of the project by modifying the upper dam to add 
one-foot stoplogs, replacing a 36-inch diameter penstock with 
one 48 inches in diameter, dredging around the intake 
structures, refurbishing the powerhouse, and installing two 
generators. The rehabilitation of the project's lower 
development includes dredging behind the lower dam, installing 
a 2,000 foot long buried penstock, building a powerhouse, 
installing two generating units, and burying a short new 
transmission line.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 1852 was introduced by Senator Thomas on December 19, 
2001. The views of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 
were sought on January 30, 2002 and March 1, 2002, and provided 
by the Chairman of the Commission on March 19, 2002.

                       COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on June 5, 2002, by a voice vote of a quorum 
present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 1852 as described 
herein.

                       SECTON-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 authorizes the Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, at the request of the licensee, to extend the 
deadline for commencing construction of hydroelectric project 
No. 1651. The time period may be extended for three consecutive 
two year periods. The extension is to take effect on the date 
of the expiration of the extension originally issued by the 
Commission under section 13 of the Federal Power Act.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of the cost of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, June 14, 2002.
Hon. Jeff Bingaman,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1852, a bill to 
extend the deadline for commencement of construction of 
hydroelectric project in the state of Wyoming.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Lisa Cash 
Driskill.
            Sincerely,
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

S. 1852--A bill to extend the deadline for commencement of construction 
        of a hydroelectric project in the state of Wyoming

    CBO estimates that implementing S. 1852 would have no net 
effect on the federal budget. The bill 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.
    S. 1852 would authorize the Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission (FERC) to extend, by six years, the deadline for 
beginning construction of a hydroelectric project currently 
subject to licensing by that agency. The proposed extension is 
for project number 1651 in Lincoln County, Wyoming. This 
provision may have a minor impact on FERC'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 the fees that the commission charges. Hence, the 
bill's provisions would have no net budgetary impact.
    Because FERC's administrative costs are set in annual 
appropriations, enactment of this legislation would not affect 
direct spending or receipts. Therefore, pay-as-you-go 
procedures would not apply to S. 1852.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Lisa Cash 
Driskill. This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, 
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 S. 1852.
    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 S. 1852.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    On January 30, 2002 and March 1, 2002, the Committee on 
Energy and Natural Resources requested legislative reports from 
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Office of 
Management and Budget setting forth Executive agency 
recommendations on S. 1852. The report was received on March 
19, 2002. The pertinent communications received by the 
Committee from the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission setting forth his views relating to this measure are 
set forth below:

                      Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,
                                    Washington, DC, March 19, 2002.
Hon. Jeff Bingaman,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: Thank you for your letter of January 30, 
2002, requesting comments on S. 1852, a bill to extend the 
construction deadlines applicable to a hydroelectric project in 
Wyoming licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 
(FERC No. 1651). A report on the project is attached to this 
letter.
    Section 13 of the Federal Power Act requires that 
construction of a licensed project be commenced within two 
years of issuance of the license. Section 13 authorizes the 
Commission to extend this deadline once, for a maximum 
additional two years. If project construction has not commenced 
by this deadline, the Commission is required to terminate the 
license. Section 13 also authorizes the Commission to extend 
the deadline for completion of construction when not 
incompatible with the public interest.
    As a general matter, enactment of bills authorizing or 
requiring commencement-of-construction extensions for 
individual projects delays utilization in the public interest 
of an important energy resource and therefore is not 
recommended. In cases where project-specific extensions are 
authorized by the Congress, it has been the position of prior 
Commission chairmen that such extensions not go beyond ten 
years from the date the project was licensed. If a licensee 
cannot meet a ten-year deadline, then as a general matter the 
license should be terminated, making the site once again 
available for such uses as current circumstances may warrant, 
based on up-to-date information on economic and environmental 
considerations. I have no reason to depart from this extension 
policy.
    S. 1852 would permit the licensee for Project No. 1651 to 
extend the deadline for commencement of construction for three 
consecutive 2-year periods. Accordingly, construction could 
commence no later than ten years from the date the license was 
issued.
    Thank you for the opportunity to comment on S. 1852. If I 
can be of further assistance in this or any other Commission 
matter, please let me know.
            Best regards,
                                              Pat Wood III,
                                                          Chairman.
    Enclosure.

Attachment to Chairman Wood's Response to Chairman Bingaman's Letter of 
                   January 30, 2002 Regarding S. 1852

    S. 1852 would authorize the Commission, upon the request of 
the licensee, in accordance with the requirements of Section 13 
of the Federal Power Act, and after reasonable notice, to 
extend the deadline for commencement of construction.

                            PROJECT NO. 1651

    On December 19, 1997, the commission issued a license to 
Swift Creek Power Company to rehabilitate, operate, and 
maintain the 1.5-megawatt Swift Creek Project No. 1651, in 
Lincoln County, Wyoming. The original deadline for the 
commencement of project construction, December 18, 1999, was 
extended by the Commission to December 18, 2001. The Commission 
staff knows of no other interest in the site.
    Rehabilitation of the upper development of Project No. 1651 
entails modifying the upper dam to add one-foot stoplogs, 
replacing a 36-inch-diameter penstock with one 48 inches in 
diameter, dredging around the intake structures, refurbishing 
the powerhouse, and installing two generators. Rehabilitation 
of the project's upper development entails dredging behind the 
lower dam, installing a 2,000-foot-long buried penstock, 
building a powerhouse, installing two generating units, and 
burying a short new transmission line.

                        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 the bill S. 1852, as 
ordered reported.