WASHINGTON, August 9, 2017 - In what Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., calls a “win-win for all involved,” House bills H.R. 825 and 2371 passed the House Committee on Natural Resources by unanimous consent.
Gosar introduced both the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act (PLREDA) and the Western Area Power Administration Transparency Act to simplify pathways for investment and provide more transparency.
The PLREDA distributes revenues among the states where development takes place and the counties of origin, provides permit processing efficiency, and establishes a fund for sportsmen and conservation purposes.
“The revenue sharing mechanism in this bill will help local governments deliver critical services on important projects such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement,” Gosar said.
PLREDA “offers an innovative approach to advance renewable development while supporting fish and wildlife conservation on our vital public lands,” said Steve Moyer, VP of Government Affairs for Trout Unlimited. “It creates a win-win scenario in which states and counties, American energy consumers, and the public lands, all benefit.”
The Western Area Power Administration Transparency Act is intended to allow for transparency of costs and rates, requiring a pilot program under which WAPA will establish a public website revealing customer rates, amount of energy sold, budget details, and capital expenditures.
“These reforms are desperately needed as auditors discovered nearly 12,000 questionable purchases totaling nearly $7 million in a two-year period alone. One of the agency’s customers recently told me it’s like WAPA has a credit card without a limit and we can’t see the statement,” said Gosar.
“HR 2371 is the first step to help implement transparency and accountability at WAPA in a manner that will enable Arizona preference power customers to better comprehend WAPA budgeting practices and rate formulation,” said John Wallace, CEO of Grand Canyon State Electric Cooperative.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found questionable and potentially fraudulent spending by WAPA in a 2015 study. Gosar calls the pilot program the first step in resolving the issue.