Getting a hydropower license can take anywhere from five to 15 years.

"That's one of the biggest barriers in our industry," said Kevin Frank, CEO of Voith Hydro.

A hydropower license is required to build a new dam or work on an existing dam.

The long wait can cause uncertainty among investors who have to reserve money for a number of years, idling until a project begins, he said.

One of the reasons licensing can take so is long is because it involves many agencies, including those responsible for protecting the environment.

"We don't want to short-circuit environmental concerns. We want certainty," Frank said.

The 135-year-old West Manchester Township company has manufactured hydropower turbines and generation equipment since 1877, operating previously as Allis-Chalmers and S. Morgan Smith.

Voith provides 550 jobs in York County.

Two pieces of legislation being considered by the U.S. Congress -- the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act and the Water Resources Development Act -- would help the company do business more efficiently, Frank said.

The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act, which will help streamline the licensing process, passed unanimously in the House, and its prospects in the Senate are strong.

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Dillsburg, voted in favor of the legislation and toured Voith for the first time on Tuesday.

"I'm very impressed," he said. "There are great-paying jobs here, and hydropower is something we need to discuss more."

As a member of the House committee on transportation and infrastructure, Perry said he and his colleagues are reviewing the Water Resources Development Act.

The legislation is up for reauthorization in Congress, and the Senate recently considered a bipartisan version designed to simplify the regulatory process.

When asked if he would vote for the act, Perry said, "I'm going to take a strong look as a member of the committee.

"As a member of Congress, I want to create an environment that helps companies like this do business," he added.