Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) offered the following comments after the house approved the FY 13 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill, H.R. 5325.
The legislation would provide $32.1 billion for the Energy Department, Army Corps of Engineers and federal water projects for fiscal 2013. This represents a cut to non-security spending of $187.5 million below last year's level and a $275 million increase to critical security spending, consistent with the House-passed budget.
"Today's Energy and Water Appropriations bill makes a big step forward in the House Republican's efforts to shrink the unnecessary obligations of government and refocus our limited federal resources on the programs that we need," said Rep Conaway.
"In addition, this bill ends loan guarantees like the one that lost over $500 billion of taxpayer funds to the now defunct Solyndra.
"Overspending has pushed our economy to the precipice of fiscal catastrophe and nothing short of a legislative about-face will save us. Over the next month, the House will continue to pass appropriations bills that reduce the size of government and get it out of the way of hard working Americans trying to create jobs."
Department of Energy (DOE) - Funding for DOE within the legislation totals $26.3 billion -- a cut of $365 million below last year's level and $1.8 billion below the President's request. Within this funding, priority was given to programs that support economic competitiveness, reduce the volatility of gasoline prices, and strengthen the nation's security.
Nuclear Security -- The bill provides a total of $11.3 billion for DOE's nuclear security programs, including Weapons Activities, Nuclear Nonproliferation, and Naval Reactors. This is a $275 million increase from last year. This critical national defense funding will maintain the safety and readiness of the nation's nuclear stockpile -- including full funding of the President's $7.6 billion request to modernize the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile and its supporting infrastructure. Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation is funded at $2.3 billion, $41 million less than fiscal year 2012. The bill also provides $1.1 billion for Naval Nuclear Reactors.
Gasoline prices -- By refocusing funds towards some of the nation's highest priorities, the bill provides $1.01 billion -- $36 million above fiscal year 2012 -- to strengthen Department of Energy programs addressing the causes and impacts of higher gasoline prices. Importantly, the legislation fills a major hole in the Department's research and development efforts by creating a new, $25 million shale oil program. It is estimated that domestic shale oil resources, if recoverable, could be more than ten times our conventional oil reserves.
Energy Programs -- The bill provides funding to help support economic development and promote the nation's energy independence. The bill includes $554 million -- $207 million above last year's level -- for research and development to advance coal, natural gas, oil, and other fossil energy technologies that provide more than 83% of the nation's energy. The bill also includes $765 million for nuclear energy research, development, and demonstration activities to further the next generation of safe, secure, and economically beneficial nuclear power options while ensuring the safety and longevity of our current plants. The bill includes $200 million to support the activities of the Advanced Research Projects Agency--Energy.
Yucca Mountain -- The bill continues Congressional efforts to roll back the Obama Administration's politically motivated Yucca Mountain policy that runs contrary to the will of the Congress and the American people. In this vein, the bill provides $25 million to support Yucca Mountain activities to continue the viability of the program for the future.
Science Research -- The bill includes $4.8 billion for science research. This funding will help strengthen innovation and help spur future economic growth through the development of high performance computing systems, basic scientific exploration, and research into the next generation of clean energy sources. Within this amount, the bill restores many of the cuts to the fusion energy program proposed by the President. This basic research will lay the groundwork for more efficient and practical domestic energy solutions in the future to help reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil, and help promote future growth in American businesses and industries.
Environmental Management -- Included in the legislation is $5.5 billion for environmental management activities, $166 million below last year's level and $106 million below the request. This includes $5 billion for Defense Environmental Cleanup to safely clean-up sites contaminated by previous nuclear weapons production.
Army Corps of Engineers -- The Army Corps of Engineers is funded at $4.8 billion. There are no congressionally earmarked projects within this bill.
The legislation advances American competitiveness and export ability by providing more than $1.89 billion for navigation projects and studies, including $1 billion in funding from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, to help increase commerce through the nation's ports and other waterways. The bill also promotes public health and safety by funding flood risk management activities at $1.45 billion -- including $451 million for critical dam safety improvements.
The bill does not fund all of the presidentially requested projects for the Army Corps, instead focusing funding on navigation and flood control activities that will have a more immediate impact on job creation and the economy. Due to the large number of ongoing Corps projects, the bill provides $324 million for essential flood control and navigation projects to be prioritized by the Corps. This additional flexibility will help address critical navigation and flood control needs across the country, while improving Administration transparency and maintaining Congressional authority over budget decisions.
Bureau of Reclamation - The legislation contains $988 million -- $89 million below last year's level and $47 million below the President's request -- for the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation. This funding is intended to help manage, develop, and protect the water resources of the western states.