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Gosar Consumer Cost Transparency Bill Receives Support at House Resources Hearing

21 April 2016   Steven D. Smith
Rep. Gosar and Mr. Ledger

Gosar introduces Environmental Compliance Cost Transparency Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after participating in a House Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans legislative hearing which included legislation he introduced, H.R. 1869, the Environmental Compliance Cost Transparency Act, which requires federal Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) active in the wholesale power business to disclose the direct and indirect costs of environmental compliance to their customers in monthly billing statements:

“The millions of retail consumers served by federal PMA’s eat the costs of the Endangered Species Act, the Central Valley Project Improvement Act and other federal environmental laws. These costs are real: In the Pacific Northwest, 30% of the rates are related to environmental costs and the Glen Canyon Dam flows in Arizona can cost its customers up to $50 million annually due to foregone power. My bipartisan bill doesn’t repeal a single environmental law and simply requires transparency, helping customers paying these bills better understand where their money is going.” 

Patrick Ledger, Senior Vice-President and Chief Executive Officer of Arizona G&T Cooperatives, testified, “Unlike investor-owned utilities, every cost impact on rural cooperatives or public power utilities is passed-on directly to our customers—residents of rural areas who are already struggling…While many of the dedicated personnel at Western [Area Power Administration] are willing to share anecdotal information on how environmental compliance affects hydropower generation, the precise cost break down is missing from the public domain. H.R. 1869 would help address this informational gap by requiring the disclosure of compliance costs with Federal environmental laws impacting the conservation of fish and wildlife. In this context we believe it is important to gather and disclose both direct and indirect costs.”

The full text of Mr. Ledger’s testimony can be found HERE

Bo Downen, Senior Policy Analyst of the Public Power Council, testified, “Support for this bill should not depend upon whether you believe these expenditures in the name of fish and wildlife should be lower, higher, or are just about right. The issue here is information.” 

The full text of Mr. Downen’s testimony can be found HERE


The full text of the Environmental Compliance Cost Transparency Act can be found HERE.

Specifically, the Environmental Compliance Cost Transparency Act requires the agencies, known as the Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs), responsible for marketing and delivering power from federal projects like the Hoover Dam, to report to customers the direct and indirect costs associated with any Federal environmental laws impacting the conservation of fish and wildlife in their monthly billing statements. 

Direct costs associated with compliance include costs related to environmental studies, capital, operations, maintenance, and staffing. Indirect costs would include forgone generation and replacement power costs.

Congressman Gosar’s legislation does not repeal or change a single environmental law; it simply requires much needed transparency that is long overdue.

H.R. 1869 currently has 21 bipartisan cosponsors including: Mark Amodei, Rod Blum, Ken Buck, John Duncan, Trent Franks, Morgan Griffith, Tim Huelskamp, Walter Jones, Doug Lamborn, Mia Love, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Cynthia Lummis, Tom McClintock, David McKinley, Dan Newhouse, Randy Neugebauer, Steve Pearce, Kurt Schrader, Chris Stewart, Scott Tipton and Ryan Zinke.

The Environmental Compliance Cost Transparency Act is endorsed by: the Colorado River Energy Distributors Association, the Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative Association, the Arizona Westside Irrigation and Electrical Districts, the Irrigation & Electrical Districts’ Association of Arizona, the Agribusiness and Water Council of Arizona, and the Public Power Council. 

Colorado River Energy Distributors Association (CREDA) supports the bill stating, “CREDA believes that it is sound federal policy for Western and the other Power Marketing Administrations to identify costs of compliance with environmental laws and mandates to those who are ultimately bearing such costs.”

The Arizona Westside Irrigation and Electrical Districts, an informal coalition of twelve agricultural districts, strongly supports this legislation stating, “The environmental compliance costs to operate those dams are significant, and because our districts are publicly-owned, the costs are borne directly by our customers - and your constituents.”

Joe Kay, representing the Grand Canyon State Electrical Cooperative Association Inc, lent his support to H.R. 1869 adding, “[Your legislation] will strengthen transparency and government management by providing electric co-op consumers with critical financial information related to the direct and indirect costs of federal agencies.”