Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (12/03/2013)

Bureau of Reclamation Conduit Hydropower Development Equity and Jobs Act - Amends the Water Conservation and Utilization Act (WCUA) to: (1) authorize the Secretary of the Interior (acting through the Bureau of Reclamation) to enter into leases of power privileges for electric power generation in connection with any project constructed under such Act, using the processes applicable to such leases under the Reclamation Project Act of 1939 (RPA); and (2) grant the Secretary authority in addition to and alternative to any authority in existing laws relating to particular projects, including small conduit hydropower development.

Requires the lease of power privilege contracts to be at rates that will produce revenues at least sufficient to cover the appropriate share of the annual operation and maintenance cost of the project and such fixed charges, including interest, as the Secretary deems proper. Limits such leases to periods not to exceed 40 years. Specifies that no findings required as prerequisites for construction of a water conservation or utilization project under WCUA shall be required for such a lease.

Requires all right, title, and interest to installed power facilities constructed by non-federal entities pursuant to a lease of power privilege, and direct revenues derived therefrom, to remain with the lessee, except that lease revenues and fixed charges, if any, shall be covered into the Reclamation Fund to be credited to the project from which those revenues were derived.

Requires the Secretary: (1) to first offer the lease of power privilege to an irrigation district or water users association operating the applicable transferred conduit, or to the district or association receiving water from such conduit; (2) to determine a reasonable timeframe for the district or association to accept or reject the lease offer; and (3) if the district or association rejects the offer, to offer the lease to other parties using the applicable RPA processes.

Requires the Bureau to apply its categorical exclusion process under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) to small conduit hydropower under WCUA, excluding siting of associated transmission facilities on federal lands.