WASHINGTON — Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Rep. Elizabeth Esty,D-5th District, won their first legislative victories on Monday as the House overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow the town of Canton to reopen two very old dams to produce electricity.
The Collinsville Renewable Energy Promotion Act was approved in the House on a 379-3 vote after its approval in the Senate, meaning it now goes to President Obama who is expected to sign it into law.
Reps. Justin Amash, R-Mich., Jeff Duncan, R-S.C. and Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C. were the “no” votes.
The legislation requires the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to issue an updated analysis of the environmental impact of the project and seek additional public comment before granting licenses for the dams, which were built in the 18th and 19th centuries to power the Collins Company.
The dams are now owned by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which needs FERC approval to transfer the dams to Canton. The town hopes the dams can produce electric power for about 1,500 homes.
For years, Murphy championed the Collinsville bill in the House as the former representative of the 5th District. But a final bill never made it through Congress.
Now the bill is the first piece of legislation Murphy has won approval in the Senate that is expected to be signed into law. It is also the first legislative win for Esty, too.
“I’m proud that my commonsense, straightforward proposal to help thousands of Connecticut families and businesses access clean, locally-produced energy will soon become law,” Esty said.