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Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chair, I rise today in reluctant opposition to H.R. 5325, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. This bill provides $32.1 billion, an $88 million increase from Fiscal Year 2012 levels but $965 million below the President's Fiscal Year 2013 request.
The purpose of the annual energy and water spending bill is to provide the funding necessary to ensure that the nation's energy and water resources are sufficient to address the nation's needs. This year's spending bill, H.R. 5325, provides funding for critical national priorities such as Army Corps of Engineers, Department of the Energy, Department of the Interior, and independent agencies that provide research and development of future energy industries, job training, and health care.

Mr. Chair, I thank Chairman FRELINGHUYSEN and Ranking Member PETER J. VISCLOSKY for shepherding this bill to the floor. I appreciate the way they worked together and with my office to accommodate several of my legislative priorities regarding energy and water development programs.
Although this bill provides adequate funding for some programs that I support, it also includes numerous other provisions that are unacceptable. On balance, these unpalatable provisions outweigh the positive aspects of the bill.
This bill substantially underfunds key priorities like science and innovation which are critical to the recovery of our economy and rebuilding our waterways and ports. The bill only provides $1.45 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy research programs, which is $374 million below Fiscal Year 2012 and $886 million below the President's request.

The bill only provides $200 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency--Energy (ARPA E), which is $75 million below Fiscal Year 2012 levels and $150 million below the President's request. ARPA E supports breakthrough of domestic clean energy innovations.

Mr. Chair, the bill before us dramatically cuts funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy research programs by 39 percent and reduces funding for several other energy innovation programs:

Solar energy research funding is cut by nearly 50 percent from Fiscal Year 2012;

Wind energy development research is underfunded at only $70 million, $24 million below the Fiscal Year 2012 and $25 million below the President's request;

Building technologies research funding is cut by more than 50 percent from fiscal year 2012 and $185 million below the President's request. These funds are used to research energy-efficient technologies in buildings, which account for roughly 40 percent of all U.S. energy use.

This bill does not stop there. It also contains provisions that weaken energy reduction targets in new and renovated federal buildings. Buildings account for almost 40 percent of U.S. energy consumption, and as the largest consumer of energy in the U.S., the federal government should lead the way in designing and building facilities that use less energy to spur the development of new materials and technologies and to show that these reductions are practical, achievable, and cost-effective.

Section 110 of the bill would stop an Administration effort to provide clarity on which water bodies are covered by Clean Water Act (CWA). The existing regulations were the subject of two Supreme Court cases in 2001 and 2006, in which the Court indicated the need for greater regulatory clarity on the scope of CA jurisdiction.

Mr. Chair, for many of these same reasons the President has put the Congress on notice that he will ``veto'' H.R. 5325 if it is presented to him for signature in its present form. It make no sense to pass a bad bill that has no chance of becoming law. We should instead be working together across the aisle to craft a bill that can win and be worthy of bipartisan and bicameral support. The bill before us does not meet this standard.

For these reasons, I will vote no on H.R. 5325 on final passage. I urge my colleagues to join me.

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