State and federal regulations have put plans for several hydro projects on hold. At issue are the expensive feasibility studies needed before a permitting process can begin, and some question the wisdom of spending when a permit isn't assured. There are about 130,000 miles of streams in the country where small hydroelectric projects could be built to generate up to 100,000 megawatts of power, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory. Observers say it is unclear how many small power sites have been stalled by regulatory requirements.
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