Subcommittee Approves FY2016 Energy & Water Development Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies today approved the FY2016 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill, clearing the path for full committee consideration of the $35.4 billion measure on Thursday.
The legislation will fund the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) programs, including national nuclear security and energy research and development, as well as critical infrastructure projects administered by the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation.  In all, the funding provided is $1.2 billion over the FY2015 enacted level and $668 million below the President’s request.
The Senate measure supports national security by providing substantial increased funding above FY2015 to strengthen the U.S. nuclear deterrence posture, ensure nuclear stockpile readiness and safety, and prepare for existing and future nuclear threats.  Important to the nation’s waterways, the measure exceeds the President’s budget request by providing increased funding for projects that are critical to public safety and the flow of goods and commerce on America’s national and regional waterways.  Regarding energy, the bill promotes programs aimed at improving American energy security and economic competitiveness.
“Governing is about setting priorities, and this legislation supports energy research, waterways and national security.  The subcommittee’s intensive oversight of the president’s budget request has also cut waste in the U.S. Department of Energy,” said U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee.  “Because of today’s vote, we are one step closer to doubling basic energy research, removing major obstacles to nuclear power, cleaning up hazardous materials at Cold War facilities, and solving critical problems facing our country.  Senator Feinstein and I worked hard to create a bipartisan bill, and I look forward to its consideration by the full Appropriations Committee.”
Highlights of the Senate’s FY2016 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill:
The bill totals $35.4 billion, $1.2 billion above the FY2015 enacted level and $668 million below the President’s request.  While meeting national priorities, the legislation makes targeted reductions to lower-priority programs.
Nuclear Security – $12.3 billion, an $856 million increase over FY2015, for DOE nuclear weapons security programs, including Weapons Activities, Naval Reactors, and Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation.  This includes:
  • $8.9 billion for Weapons Activities, $696 million above the FY2015 enacted level
  • $1.3 billion for Naval Reactors, $66 million above the FY2015 enacted level
  • $1.7 billion for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, $89 million above the FY2015 enacted level
Army Corps of Engineers – $5.5 billion, an increase of $45 million above the FY2015 enacted level and $768 million above the President’s budget request.  The bill provides:
  • $2.5 billion for navigation projects and studies, including $1.254 billion in funding from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and full use of estimated annual revenues from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, to advance American competitiveness and export capabilities
  • $1.4 billion to support flood and storm damage reduction activities, including $310 million for the most critical dam safety improvements.
Environmental Cleanup – $6.0 billion for DOE environmental management activities, $167 million above the FY2015 enacted level, including $5.2 billion for Defense Environmental Cleanup to continue remediation of sites contaminated by previous nuclear weapons production. The bill also funds cleanup activities at other non-defense related nuclear sites.
Energy Programs – $10.5 billion, an increase of $270 million above the FY2015 enacted level and $1.1 billion below the President’s request. Within this total, the bill prioritizes and increases funding for energy programs that encourage U.S. economic competitiveness and that will advance “all-of-the-above” solution to U.S. energy independence.
Energy Research and Development – $610 million, an increase of $39 million over the FY2015 enacted level, for technologies to advance coal, natural gas, oil, and other fossil energy resources.  In addition, the bill provides $950 million, a $116 million increase, for nuclear energy research, development, and demonstration activities.
Science Research – $5.1 billion for science research, an increase of $73 million above the FY2015 enacted level, support basic energy research, development of high-performance computing systems, and research into the next generation of clean energy sources--all important areas for lessening U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources and for improving economic competitiveness.
Bureau of Reclamation – $1.1 billion, $3 million above the FY2015 enacted level and $35 million above the President’s request, for the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation to help manage, develop, and protect the water resources of Western states.
Solving the Nuclear Waste Stalemate – The bill includes a pilot program for consolidated nuclear waste storage, introduced by Alexander and ranking member U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).  It also includes language that allows DOE to store nuclear waste at private facilities, such as those proposed in Texas and New Mexico.
Other policy items:
The bill prohibits any changes to the definition of “fill material” and “discharge of fill material” for the purposes of the Clean Water Act.