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New Legislation Addresses the Nation’s 90,000 Dams

Stanford ‘Uncommon Dialogue' bringing together hydropower and river conservation communities informs new legislation in the U.S. House and Senate

This week federal legislators introduced the Twenty-First Century Dams Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Developed with insights from a series of Stanford-convened meetings between hydropower and river conservation stakeholders, the pending bills would invest $25.8 billion for safety improvements and additional power generating capacity at existing dams while also providing funding to remove dams that have outlived their useful lives.

“The major agreement we brokered last October between the U.S. hydropower industry and environmental community has led to an exciting opportunity to address climate change and the health of our nation’s rivers through the ‘3Rs’ – rehabilitating some of the nation’s 90,000 dams for safety, retrofitting some for power and removing some for conservation,” said Dan Reicher, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy, senior scholar at the Stanford Woods Institute, and founding executive director of the Stanford Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance. “The 3Rs legislation now introduced in both the Senate and House will help seize this terrific opportunity, with great upside for people and the planet.”

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo) introduced the legislation  July 15, 2021. Read more in a news release from Senator Feinstein’s office and in coverage from the Associated Press.

For background on the series of Uncommon Dialogues that paved the way to a landmark agreement between the hydropower and conservation interests, visit our U.S. Hydropower pages.

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