Press Releases

Kuster Discusses Future of Hydropower and Dam Safety at Uncommon Dialogue on Northeastern Rivers and Dams

Hanover, N.H. — Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) joined the Uncommon Dialogue on Northeastern Rivers and Dams discussion at Dartmouth College. The dialogue centered around the $2.3 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law awarded to the National Uncommon Dialogue on Hydropower and River Conservation, led by Stanford University, American Rivers, and the National Hydropower Association. This funding goes toward implementing the “3Rs" for the more than 90,000 dams across the country: rehabilitating some for safety, retrofitting some for power, and removing some for conservation and safety.

The Uncommon Dialogue on Hydropower and River Conservation is a guided discussion organized by Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment. Convened by Dan Reicher, the Uncommon Dialogue brings together public and private sector leaders and researchers to develop practical solutions to pressing environmental challenges.

“Dams are the unseen fabric of the northeast—they facilitate agriculture, transportation, water storage, recreation, and clean power generation,” said Kuster. “I’m incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made in Congress through collaboration with the Uncommon Dialogue. Together, we secured significant funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to implement the 3Rs, advance our environmental protection, clean energy generation, and human safety goals, and highlight the critical role dams play in our society.”

The United States has more than 90,000 dams, including 6,000 “high-hazard” dams with poor, unsatisfactory, or unknown safety ratings that would pose a threat to human life should they fail. Additionally, many of the nation’s dams have outlived their useful life and should be removed to restore rivers to their natural state. Dam removal can fulfill critical tribal and local priorities and enhance climate resiliency in watersheds.

Kuster is a fierce advocate for expanding hydropower and improving dam safety. In collaboration with the Uncommon Dialogue, Kuster introduced the 21st Century Dams Act, legislation to accelerate the rehabilitation, retrofitting, or removal of America’s 90,000 dams, including more than 2,500 in New Hampshire. The bill makes a $25.8 billion investment in enhancing the safety, grid resilience benefits, and power-generating capacity of America’s existing dams while also providing historic funding to remove dams that are no longer necessary.