House Passes Foxx Legislation to Extend Construction Deadline for Wilkesboro Hydropower Project

Published Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 2:57 pm

The House of Representatives today passed legislation by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., that authorizes the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to extend the time period during which the Wilkesboro Hydroelectric Company is required to begin construction of its hydropower project at W. Kerr Scott Dam.

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx

“Congress needs to make sure onerous regulatory burdens don’t stand in the way of accessing or advancing all forms of American energy,” said Foxx. “Wilkesboro Hydroelectric Company has worked to ensure its project meets the requirements outlined by the federal government and this legislation is consistent with previous congressional action to spur hydropower development at Corps facilities.”

On July 17, 2012, the agency granted the company an original license for the project on the Yadkin River in Wilkes County. However, Section 13 of the Federal Power Act requires Wilkesboro Hydroelectric Company to begin construction within four years of license issuance.

The project has required extensive coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and there were delays in the review process for the design plans. As a result, Wilkesboro Hydroelectric Company will not be able to start construction of the amended design within the statutory deadline.

Foxx’s legislation extends the time period during which the company is required to commence the construction of the project for up to three consecutive two-year periods from the date of the expiration of the extension originally issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

H.R. 3447 passed the House by a vote of 406-3. Identical legislation has been introduced in the Senate.

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U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx represents North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District and is the elected Republican Conference Secretary. Dr. Foxx is the chair of the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and serves as Vice Chair of the House Rules Committee.

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