Press releases

WASHINGTON – The Senate passed legislation from Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) that would protect two hydropower construction projects in the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway on Louisiana’s Red River.

“Hydropower is an important part of our all-of-the-above energy policy, and these projects would bring construction jobs to our state. It would be foolish to allow supply chain issues from the pandemic to derail Louisiana’s hydropower developments. With this extension, Louisiana would be able to bring these two projects online to provide additional sources of reliable, clean energy to Louisianians,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy’s bill would allow the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to extend hydropower construction permits for both projects. This will provide both of Louisiana’s Red River projects with additional time to begin construction in order to bring these projects online.

“Hydropower is reliable, safe, and responsible. The federal government should be enabling projects, not standing in the way. Today’s actions are bipartisan, pro-jobs, and pro-American energy. I’m glad to see Congress cut the red tape holding up the Red River and Overton Lock projects,” said Cassidy, who introduced the bill with Kennedy.

The bill from Kennedy and Cassidy now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.


  • In the United States, companies must secure a permit from FERC to begin construction on dams and other hydropower facilities. FERC’s hydropower construction permits expire after just 10 years. The COVID-19 pandemic caused many unforeseen delays due to supply chain issues and high labor costs. In turn, many projects will require more than 10 years to reach completion.
  • Louisiana is home to two developing hydropower facilities located on the J. Walter Bennett Waterway along the Red River. Construction of the two facilities would bring hundreds of jobs to northwest Louisiana.
  • Hydropower is an affordable, reliable and clean energy source that can strengthen the power grids in Louisiana and beyond. Without Kennedy’s bill allowing FERC to extend their construction permits, Louisiana project managers would not be able to bring these facilities online to power the surrounding communities.
  • As the top Republican on the Senate’s Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee, Kennedy has expanded America’s hydropower capabilities. The FY 2024 Energy and Water appropriation package included $440 million in investments for the nation’s dam and levee infrastructure, including $36.5 million Kennedy secured to reinforce the Boggs Lock and Dam on the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway.
  • Senate Democrats initially blocked a bill that would have granted FERC the ability to extend permits for any hydropower construction projects that suffered pandemic-related delays. Kennedy helped spearhead negotiations with his Democratic colleagues to pass this narrower legislation to ensure that these Louisiana projects could receive the permit extensions they need to reach completion.

Full text of the bill is available here.