U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler will meet with representatives of Southwest Washington businesses and electric utilities on Wednesday morning to talk about how they are affected by hydropower.
Those invited to the roundtable discussion, which is closed to the public, include representatives from Clark Public Utilities, WaferTech, SEH America, Great Western Malting and Linde Gas.
“If the role of hydro influences a business’s decision on where to locate and whether to expand, I’d like to hear about it,” Herrera Beutler said Tuesday in a statement about the roundtable. “As Congress works on our nation’s energy policy, it’s important for me to know how hydropower impacts families and businesses in Southwest Washington.”
Last week, Herrera Beutler introduced a nonbinding resolution asking House members to recognize hydroelectricity as “the most abundant source of clean, renewable energy in the United States.”
Her resolution and the roundtable come about six years after Washington voters approved Initiative 937, which requires larger utilities to get 15 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2020. The initiative does not define hydropower as a renewable energy source.
Politicians have attempted to change these new energy rules several times. The initiative was broadened a bit during this year’s 60-day legislative session, when lawmakers passed Senate Bill 5575, which defines biomass energy created at pulp mills as renewable.
Some of the participants in the roundtable are members of the Clark County High Tech and Community Council, a group of influential high-tech employers. That group has lobbied Gov. Chris Gregoire and legislators to make Initiative 937 friendlier to business.
Herrera Beutler’s hydropower roundtable takes place 11 a.m. to noon in her Vancouver office. She has not had an in-person town hall meeting since May 17 and instead has smaller meetings with invited constituents over coffee.
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