The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2013 Energy and Water and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which will be considered in the Energy and Water Subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation provides the annual funding for the various agencies and programs under the Department of Energy (DoE) and other related agencies, and totals $32.1 billion -- a cut of $965 million below the President's budget request.
Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said that while the bill makes responsible choices to cut spending where appropriate, it continues critical investments to address some of the nation's most pressing national concerns -- nuclear security, American economic competitiveness, functional and sufficient water and power infrastructure, and the rising price of gasoline.
"This legislation reflects the Appropriations Committee's continued commitment to responsible and responsive federal budgets. While cutting spending in lower priority programs, the bill focuses taxpayer dollars where they are most needed and best used," Rogers said.
"This bill includes critical funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration to ensure the safety and readiness of the nation's nuclear stockpile -- an essential function of our national security in these uncertain times. Also included is funding for the Army Corps of Engineers and various regional water and power authorities to maintain and expand critical infrastructure across the country to help businesses and communities thrive. And, the bill increases investments in various energy programs to help address rising energy prices and the instability volatile gas prices have on the recovering economy," Rogers continued.
Energy and Water Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen also commented on the importance of the bill:
"The nation faces challenging fiscal realities, yet this is a fair bill that recognizes our highest responsibilities -- the defense of our country and support for American innovation and competitiveness. To protect the interests of the taxpayer, our legislation enhances Congressional oversight of the agencies under our jurisdiction and cuts spending on lower priority programs, ensuring that every hard-earned taxpayer dollar will be well spent," Energy and Water Subcommittee Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said.
A summary of the subcommittee draft of the fiscal year 2013 Energy and Water Appropriations bill follows:
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.