SUMMARY: Senate Subcommittee Approves FY2018 Energy & Water Development Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON (TUESDAY, July 18, 2017) – The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development Tuesday approved fiscal year 2018 funding legislation that totals $38.4 billion in discretionary budget authority, which is $629 million more than the fiscal year 2017 level and $4.1 billion above the President’s requested level. 

More than $1 billion is for defense activities, while non-defense activities see a decrease of $415 million, demonstrating the fundamental imbalance in the current approach to funding the nation’s infrastructure, scientific research and technology development priorities. 

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, issued the following statement:

“I want to thank Chairman Alexander for drafting a bill that reflects the best possible funding levels under the current budget constraints. While I don’t support all of the cuts in this bill, it’s my hope that both parties will be able to negotiate a budget agreement later this year to restore funding for many of those programs. I’m pleased to see the bill preserves important investments in scientific research, ARPA-E, Army Corps infrastructure projects and drought resiliency.”

Key Points & Highlights

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The bill provides $6.2 billion to fund the Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program. The operation and maintenance budget is increased by $332.5 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level in order to meet the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 spending target for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund of $1.34 billion. The construction account is decreased by $173 million from the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. Despite an overall decrease to the account, the bill provides an additional $648 million for construction of flood risk management, navigation, and environmental restoration projects.  The investigations account is decreased by $7.5 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.

Bureau of Reclamation

The bill provides $1.298 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 $98 million of additional funding for drought resiliency activities as authorized in the 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. The bill also includes a total of $94 million for Rural Water projects in the western states, which is level with fiscal year 2017.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs

The bill provides $1.937 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, $153 million below fiscal year 2017 and $1.3 billion more than the President’s request.  The bill prioritizes funding for advancing technology development for water and geothermal power generation; for increasing the energy efficiency of manufacturing processes and residential and commercial buildings; and for providing funds to lower the energy bills of low-income Americans.

Basic Scientific Research

The bill provides $5.55 billion for the Office of Science, $158 million more than fiscal year 2017.  The Department of Energy is the largest single provider of funding for basic research in the physical sciences in the country. 

Environmental Cleanup

Cleanup of Cold War nuclear sites is funded at $6.634 billion.  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, New Mexico, New York, and Ohio are addressed in the bill. 

Nuclear Weapons and Nonproliferation

The bill funds the National Nuclear Security Administration at $13.685 billion, $655 more than fiscal year 2017.  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. 

# # #