SUMMARY: Energy and Water Development FY 2020 Appropriations Bill

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations approved fiscal year 2020 Energy and Water Development funding legislation that totals $48.86 billion in discretionary budget authority, which is $4.226 billion more than the fiscal year 2019 level and $10.944 billion above the President’s requested level. 

Non-defense activities see an increase of $2.266 billion, emphasizing the importance of funding the nation’s infrastructure, scientific research, and technology development priorities. Defense activities see a $1.96 billion increase.   

Key Points & Highlights

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The bill provides $7.75 billion to fund the Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program. The operation and maintenance budget is increased by $59 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level. These additional funds support an estimated $1.67 billion for Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund activities, which is $74 million above the spending target contained in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014. The construction account is increased by $612 million from the fiscal year 2019 enacted level, which supports the full use of the 2019 estimated revenues generated from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. Additional construction funds are provided for projects to reduce flood risk, increase the resiliency of our coastlines, improve the navigability of our ports, and restore ecosystems that have been impacted by Corps projects. The investigations account, which funds the study and design of projects, is increased by $30 million from the fiscal year 2019 enacted level. The bill includes six new study starts and six new construction starts.

Bureau of Reclamation

The bill provides $1.75 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation within the Department of Interior to fund water supply projects and programs in the western United States. The bill includes $206 million of additional funding for drought resiliency activities as authorized in the 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. These funds will support long-term solutions for handling future droughts including, water storage, water recycling and reuse, and desalination. The bill also includes $125 million for Rural Water projects, which will provide clean drinking water to Tribes and rural parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, and New Mexico. Additional funds can be used to address the ongoing drought in the Colorado River Basin, which requires immediate action to support the over 40 million people who depend on reliable water and power from the Colorado River.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs

The bill provides $2.858 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, $479 million above fiscal year 2019, a 17 percent increase, and $2.5 billion more than the President’s budget request.  The bill provides $815 million for sustainable transportation programs that develop alternative fuels, new types of batteries, and more efficient engines to enable cheaper movement of people and goods.  Renewable energy programs receive $635 million, with an emphasis on innovative technologies for water and geothermal power generation.  The bill provides $1.084 billion for energy efficiency programs, including those that lower energy costs for manufacturers, deploy advanced technology in homes and businesses to reduce energy use, and lower the energy bills of low-income Americans by providing weatherization and energy retrofit services. 

Basic Scientific Research

The bill provides $7.215 billion for the Office of Science, $630 million more than fiscal year 2019, a 9 percent increase.  The Department of Energy is the largest single provider of funding for basic research in the physical sciences in the country.  The increase in funding is largely focused on computing, light-source, and building infrastructure as well as infrastructure related to the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility / Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. 

Environmental Cleanup

Cleanup of Cold War nuclear sites is funded at $7.45 billion, an increase of $275 million above fiscal year 2019.  This program addresses a legacy of radioactive and hazardous contamination at sites across the country and the bill addresses many of the highest environmental risks posed by these sites.  Cleanup of contaminated sites in Washington, Tennessee, South Carolina, New Mexico, New York, and Ohio is addressed in the bill. 

Nuclear Weapons and Nonproliferation

The bill funds the National Nuclear Security Administration at $16.910 billion, $1.681 billion more than fiscal year 2019, a 10 percent increase.  Efforts to extend the life of the current nuclear weapons stockpile are fully funded, as are programs targeted at working with international partners to reduce the risks of nuclear terrorism.