This bill seeks to amend the current laws governing dam inspections and the management of funds related to state-owned dams. It grants the Department of Environmental Services (DES) the authority to inspect dams that may pose a threat to public safety and to reclassify dams if certain conditions change, such as downstream conditions warranting reclassification, receipt of an application for a permit to reconstruct the dam, or if the dam fails to meet current design criteria based on its hazard classification. The bill also modifies the sources of revenue that can be deposited into the Dam Maintenance Fund, allowing for the inclusion of revenue from the sale or transfer of any state-owned dam, not just those used for hydroelectric generation, and broadening the type of funds that can be deposited to include "other funds" in addition to gifts and grants.

Additionally, the bill establishes a committee to study alternative funding methods for the operation, maintenance, and repair of state-owned dams. This committee will consist of members from the Senate and House of Representatives and will explore existing funding sources and develop recommendations for sustainable funding options. The committee is required to report its findings by November 1, 2024. The fiscal impact of the bill is indeterminate, as it depends on the number of dams reclassified and the revenue generated from dam transfers. The bill is set to take effect upon its passage, with any fiscal impacts expected to occur after FY 2024.

Statutes affected:
Introduced: 482:12, 481:32
As Amended by the Senate: 482:12, 481:32
Version adopted by both bodies: 482:12, 481:32
SB549 text: 482:12, 481:32