SUMMARY: Senate Subcommittee Approves FY2019 Energy & Water Development Appropriations Bill

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development approved fiscal year 2019 funding legislation that totals $43.8 billion in discretionary budget authority, which is $566 million more than the fiscal year 2018 level and $7.2 billion above the President’s requested level. 

Non-defense activities see an increase of $474 million, emphasizing the importance of funding the nation’s infrastructure, scientific research, and technology development priorities. Defense activities see a $92 million increase.   

Key Points & Highlights

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The bill provides $6.9 billion to fund the Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program. The operation and maintenance budget is increased by $110 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. These additional funds support an estimated $1.53 billion for Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund activities, which is $86 million above the spending target contained in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014. The construction account is increased by $74 million from the fiscal year 2018 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 held flat with the fiscal year 2018 enacted level of $123 million. While the fiscal year 2019 budget request did not include any new projects, the bill includes seven new study starts and six new construction starts.

Bureau of Reclamation

The bill provides $1.478 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 $196 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 an additional $86.5 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 $2.322 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, the same level as fiscal year 2018 and $1.6 billion more than the President’s budget request.  The bill provides $668 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 $509 million, with an emphasis on innovative technologies for water and geothermal power generation.  The bill provides $873 million 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 $6.65 billion for the Office of Science, $390 million more than fiscal year 2018.  The Department of Energy is the largest single provider of funding for basic research in the physical sciences in the country.  A significant portion of the new funding goes toward new or upgraded infrastructure at the national laboratories and associated facilities.   

Environmental Cleanup

Cleanup of Cold War nuclear sites is funded at $7.182 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, 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 $14.78 billion, $62 million more than fiscal year 2018.  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.