Hoover Dam bill signed into law

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed into law a bill that extends hydropower allocations from Hoover Dam for another 50 years and makes a portion of its electricity available to new customers.

The new law codifies an agreement reached by Nevada and electricity contract holders in Arizona and California that will ensure their shares of low-cost power from 2017, when current contracts expire, until 2067.

It also sets aside 5 percent of the major users’ allocations to form a 100 megawatt pool of electricity that would be offered to American Indian tribes, rural cooperatives and other new customers.

Passage through Congress largely was noncontroversial.

“This legislation is good for our economy and our environment, and I look forward to seeing Nevada benefit from this agreement for decades to come,” Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said.

In Nevada, electricity from Hoover Dam is used by Boulder City, Lincoln County and the Southern Nevada Water Authority, among other users. A small portion is sold to NV Energy, contributing to its base load in Las Vegas.

Obama signed the legislation in the Oval Office. Reid and Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., two of the bill sponsors, were present, White House officials said.

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., also was a bill sponsor but did not attend the White House signing out of concern he would miss an expected House vote, a spokesman said.

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at stetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760.

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