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115th Congress   }                                          {   Report
                                  SENATE
 2d Session      }                                          {   115-311

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



 
     J. BENNETT JOHNSTON WATERWAY HYDROPOWER EXTENSION ACT OF 2018

                                _______
                                

                 July 31, 2018.--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. 1142]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 1142) to extend the deadline for 
commencement of construction of certain hydroelectric projects, 
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.

                               AMENDMENT

    The amendment is as follows:
    Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``J. Bennett Johnston Waterway 
Hydropower Extension Act of 2018''.

SEC. 2. EXTENSION.

    (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 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission project numbers 
12756, 12757, and 12758, the Commission may, at the request of the 
licensee for the applicable project, and after reasonable notice, in 
accordance with the good faith, due diligence, and public interest 
requirements of that section and the procedures of the Commission under 
that section, extend the time period during which the licensee is 
required to commence the construction of the applicable project for up 
to 3 consecutive 2-year periods from the date of the expiration of the 
extension originally issued by the Commission.
    (b) Reinstatement of License.--If the time period required for 
commencement of construction of a project described in subsection (a) 
has expired prior to the date of enactment of this Act--
          (1) the Commission may reinstate the license for the 
        applicable project effective as of the date of the expiration 
        of the license; and
          (2) the first extension authorized under subsection (a) shall 
        take effect on that expiration.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 1142 is to extend the deadline for 
commencement of construction for three hydroelectric projects 
in Louisiana.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or 
Commission) issued licenses for Red River Lock and Dam 
hydroelectric projects No. 3 (FERC Project Number 12756), No. 4 
(FERC Project Number 12757), and No. 5 (FERC Project Number 
12758) in Louisiana on April 14, 2014, February 17, 2017, and 
March 28, 2017, respectively. Nelson Energy, LLC, is pursuing 
development of these three projects, which are located within 
an 84-mile long reach of the Red River known as the J. Bennett 
Johnston Waterway, and are all currently owned and operated by 
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In total, the projects 
represent approximately 92 megawatts of generation capacity and 
have an estimated cost of $479 million.
    On February 23, 2016, FERC granted a two-year extension for 
the construction start time for FERC Project Number 12756, the 
maximum allowed under section 13 of the Federal Power Act. In 
order to ensure the continuity of ongoing work, the licensee 
now seeks a Congressional authorization for FERC to grant up to 
three additional two-year period extensions of the commencement 
construction deadlines for all three projects.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    Senator Cassidy introduced S. 1142 on May 16, 2017.
    Representative Mike Johnson introduced companion 
legislation, H.R. 2457, in the House of Representatives on May 
16, 2017. H.R. 2457 was favorably reported, as amended, by the 
Energy and Commerce Committee on June 12, 2017, and was passed 
by the House of Representatives by a vote of 402-1 on the same 
day. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and 
Natural Resources on June 13, 2017.
    On February 28, 2018, the Subcommittee on Water and Power 
held a legislative hearing on S. 1142 and H.R. 2457. A similar 
measure was included in Amendment No. 3059, which the Senate 
agreed to on June 21, 2018, as an amendment to H.R. 5895, the 
Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction 
and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2019, which the Senate 
passed, as amended, on June 25, 2018.
    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met in open 
business session on May 17, 2018, and ordered S. 1142 favorably 
reported, as amended.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on May 17, 2018, by majority voice vote 
of a quorum present recommends that the Senate pass S. 1142, if 
amended as described herein.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENT

    During its consideration of S. 1142, the Committee adopted 
an amendment in the nature of substitute to strike language 
regarding annual charges and to make technical and conforming 
changes. This amendment is further described in the section-by-
section analysis.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 sets forth a short title.

Section 2. Extension

    Section 2(a) authorizes the Commission, at the request of 
the licensee for the applicable project and after reasonable 
notice, and in accordance with FERC procedures, to extend the 
time period during which the licensee is required to commence 
project construction for up to three consecutive two-year 
periods, beginning on the expiration date of the Commission's 
license extension.
    Subsection (b) authorizes the Commission to reinstate a 
project license if the license for an applicable project 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:
    CBO estimates that implementing S. 1142 would have no net 
effect on the federal budget. The bill would authorize the 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reinstate the 
license and extend the deadline for beginning construction of 
three hydroelectric projects: numbers 12756 and 12757 (located 
in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana) and number 12758 (located in 
Bossier Parish, Louisiana). The proposed extensions 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. 1142 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 1142 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    S. 1142 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Megan Carroll. 
The estimate was reviewed 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. 1142. 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. 1142, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    S. 1142, as ordered 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 written testimony provided by the Commission at the 
February 28, 2018, hearing on S. 1142 and H.R. 2457 follows:

              Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,
                                    Office of the Chairman,
                                  Washington, DC, February 26, 2018
Hon. Lisa Murkowski,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Chairman Murkowski: This letter is in response to a 
request by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources 
for my views on S. 1142 and H.R. 2457, two bills to authorize 
the extension of the time to begin construction of the original 
licenses for the Red River Lock and Dam No 3. (FERC Project No. 
12756), Red River Lock and Dam No. 4 (FERC Project No. 12757), 
and Red River Lock and Dam No. 5 (FERC Project No. 12758), and 
H.R. 2786, a bill to amend the Federal Power Act (FPA) with 
respect to criteria and process for a proposed project to 
qualify as qualifying conduit hydropower facility.

S. 1142 and H.R. 2457

    On April 14, 2014, the Commission issued an original 
license authorizing BOST3 Hydroelectric LLC to construct and 
operate the Red River Lock and Dam No. 3 Project on the Red 
River in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana. The Commission issued an 
original license to BOST4 Hydroelectric LLC on February 17, 
2017, to construct and operate the Red River Lock and Dam No. 4 
Project also to be located on the Red River in Catahoula 
Parish, Louisiana. On March 8, 2017, the Commission issued an 
original license authorizing BOST5 Hydroelectric LLC to 
construct and operate the Red River Lock and Dam No. 5 Project 
to be located on the Red River in Bossier Parish, Louisiana.
    Pursuant to section 31(a) of the FPA, licensees are 
required to begin construction of the projects within 2 years 
of the license issuance date. They may be granted one two-year 
extension of time. The licensee for the Red River Lock and Dam 
No. 3 has been granted the one two-year extension.
    S. 1142 and H.R. 2457 would extend the time period during 
which the licensees for Project Nos. 12756, 12757, and 12758 
are required to commence the construction of their applicable 
project for up to 3 consecutive 2-year periods from the date of 
the expiration of any extension issued by the Commission for 
such project.
    The last several Commission Chairmen have taken the 
position of not opposing legislation that would extend a 
project's commencement of construction deadline where the 
extension does not exceed 10 years past 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 at issue for 
other public uses. Because S. 1142 and H.R. 2457 provide for 
commencement of construction deadlines that do not exceed 10 
years from the date on which the project license was issued, I 
do not have concerns with the suggested approach.
    If I can be of further assistance to you on this or any 
other Commission matter, please let me know.
            Sincerely,
                                         Kevin J. McIntyre,
                                                          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 the bill as ordered 
reported.