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                                                       Calendar No. 130
                                                       
115th Congress    }                                           {    Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session      }                                           {   115-100

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



 
 TO REINSTATE AND EXTEND THE DEADLINE FOR COMMENCEMENT OF CONSTRUCTION 
          OF A HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT INVOLVING THE GIBSON DAM

                                _______
                                

                  June 8, 2017.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Ms. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 490]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 490) to reinstate and extend the deadline 
for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project 
involving the Gibson Dam, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon with an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
    1. Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. REINSTATEMENT AND EXTENSION OF TIME FOR FEDERAL ENERGY 
                    REGULATORY COMMISSION PROJECT INVOLVING GIBSON DAM.

    (a) In General.--Notwithstanding the time period specified in 
section 13 of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 806) that would 
otherwise apply to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission project 
numbered 12478-003, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (referred 
to in this section as the ``Commission'') may, at the request of the 
licensee for the project, and after reasonable notice, in accordance 
with the good faith, due diligence, and public interest requirements 
of, and the procedures of the Commission under, that section, extend 
the time period during which the licensee is required to commence 
construction of the project for not more than 3 consecutive 2-year 
periods from the date of the expiration of the extension originally 
issued by the Commission.
    (b) Reinstatement of Expired License.--
          (1) In general.--If the period required for the commencement 
        of construction of the project described in subsection (a) has 
        expired prior to the date of enactment of this Act, the 
        Commission may reinstate the license effective as of that date 
        of expiration.
          (2) Extension.--If the Commission reinstates the license 
        under paragraph (1), the first extension authorized under 
        subsection (a) shall take effect on the date of that 
        expiration.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 490 is to reinstate and extend the 
deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric 
project involving the Gibson Dam.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    The Gibson Dam Hydroelectric Project was licensed as 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) Project No. 
12478 in 2014, and subsequently received the maximum two-year 
extension in 2014. The deadline for the commencement of 
construction was January 12, 2016. Section 13 of the Federal 
Power Act provides that, if construction does not timely 
commence, the Commission must terminate the license. Due to 
unforeseen delays in procuring the necessary rights-of-way and 
working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on transmission 
corridor compliance, legislation is required to extend the 
construction commencement deadline for this project.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    Senators Daines, Risch, and Tester, introduced S. 490 on 
March 2, 2017.
    In the 114th Congress, Senators Daines, Risch and Tester 
introduced a similar measure, S. 1104, on April 27, 2015. The 
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources conducted a hearing 
on S. 1104 on May 19, 2015. The Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources met in open business session on July 30, 2015, and 
ordered S. 1104 favorably reported (S. Rept. 114 133).
    The measure was also included in S. 2012, the Energy Policy 
Modernization Act of 2016, an original bill that was reported 
by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on July 30, 
2015, and passed by the Senate, as amended, on April 26, 2016.
    Representative Zinke introduced companion legislation, H.R. 
2081, in the House of Representatives on April 28, 2015.
    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met in open 
business session on March 30, 2017, and ordered S. 490 
favorably reported as amended.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in an open 
business session on March 30, 2017, by a voice vote of a quorum 
present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 490, if amended as 
described herein.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENT

    During its consideration of S. 490, the committee adopted 
an amendment in the nature of a substitute to provide the 
Commission with the discretion to extend the project's license 
and to start the congressionally authorized extension from the 
expiration date of the Commission's license extension instead 
of the date of the Act's enactment. The amendment is further 
described in the section-by-section analysis.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 authorizes the Commission, at the request of the 
licensee for the project and after reasonable notice, and in 
accordance with FERC procedures, to extend the time period 
during which the licensee is required to commence the 
construction of project works to three consecutive two-year 
periods, beginning on the expiration date of the Commission's 
license extension. This section also authorizes the Commission 
to reinstate the license if it has expired prior to the date of 
enactment of this Act. If so reinstated, the reinstated license 
is to be effective as of the date of the expiration of the 
previous extension.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

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

S. 490--To reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of 
        construction of a hydroelectric project involving the Gibson 
        Dam

    CBO estimates that implementing S. 490 would have no net 
effect on the federal budget. The bill would authorize the 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to extend the 
deadline for beginning construction of a hydroelectric project 
(number 12478-003) involving the Gibson Dam in Montana. The 
proposed extension could have a minor effect on FERC's 
workload; however, because FERC recovers 100-percent of its 
costs through user fees, any change in that agency's costs 
(which are controlled through annual appropriation acts) would 
be offset by an equal change in fees that the commission 
charges, resulting in no net change in federal spending.
    Enacting S. 490 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. CBO 
estimates that enacting S. 490 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    S. 490 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.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Megan Carroll. 
The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 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. 490.
    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. 490, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    S. 490, 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

    Because S. 490 is similar to legislation considered by the 
Committee in the 114th Congress, the Committee did not request 
Executive Agency views. The written testimony provided by the 
Commission at the hearing before the Energy and Natural 
Resources Committee on May 19, 2015, follows:

                                    Federal Energy 
                                     Regulatory Commission,
                                                      May 18, 2015.
Re S. 1103 and S. 1104.
Hon. Lisa Murkowski,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
Washington, DC.
    Dear Chairman Murkowski: This letter is in response to a 
request from your staff for my views on S. 1103 and S. 1104. S. 
1103 would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to 
reinstate the license for the proposed 4.7-megawatt Clark 
Canyon Dam Hydroelectric Project No. 12429, to be located at 
Reclamation's Clark Canyon Dam on the Beaverhead River in 
Beaverhead County, Montana. The bill also would require the 
Commission to extend the commencement of construction deadline 
for the project for a three-year period. S. 1104 would 
authorize the Commission to extend, for six years, the 
commencement of construction deadline for the proposed 15-
megawatt Gibson Dam Hydroelectric Project No. 12478, to be 
located at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of 
Reclamation's (Reclamation) Gibson Dam, on the Sun River, in 
Lewis and Clark and Teton Counties, Montana.
    The Commission issued an original license for the Clark 
Canyon Dam Project on August 26, 2009. The license required 
that commencement of project construction begin by the maximum 
allowable two-year deadline, August 25, 2011. At the licensee's 
request, the Commission extended the deadline for two years 
(i.e., until August 25, 2013), which is the maximum allowable 
by section 13 of the Federal Power Act. The licensee was not 
able to commence construction by that date and, as required by 
section 13, the Commission terminated the license, by order 
dated March 19, 2015. The Commission explained that the 
licensee could file a new license application and that 
Commission staff would work with the licensee to determine 
whether portions of the Commission's regulation could be waived 
to make the new license proceeding as expeditious as possible.
    The Commission issued an original license for the Gibson 
Dam Project on January 12, 2012. The license provided that the 
company was required to commence project construction within 
two years of the date of the license, which again is the 
maximum period permitted by the Federal Power Act. The 
Commission subsequently granted the maximum allowable two-year 
extension of the commencement of construction deadline. 
Accordingly, the deadline for the commencement of construction 
is now January 12, 2016. Section 13 of the Federal Power Act 
provides that, if construction does not timely commence, the 
Commission must terminate the license. It is my understanding 
that the licensee is encountering difficulty obtaining lands, 
subject to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife conservation easement, that 
are needed for construction of the project's primary 
transmission line, such that the licensee believes that it may 
not be able to commence project construction by the statutory 
deadline.
    The last several Commission Chairmen and I 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 public interest is better served by releasing 
the site for other public uses. Because S. 1103 and S. 1104 
provide for commencement of construction deadlines that do not 
exceed 10 years from the dates that the respective licenses 
were issued, I do not oppose these bills.
    If I can be of further assistance to you on this or any 
other Commission matter, please let me know.
            Sincerely,
                                             Norman C. Bay,
                                                          Chairman.

                        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 S. 490, as ordered 
reported.