Update on FY2002 Energy & Water Appropriations (11-14-01)
The Energy and Water Appropriations bill (H.R. 2311; S. 1171) provides federal funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Energy (other than fossil energy and efficiency programs), the Department of the Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Reclamation, and several independent agencies. President George W. Bush requested a total of $22.5 billion for programs included in the Energy & Water Appropriations bill, including $18.1 billion for the Department of Energy (DOE). Under the congressional budget resolution, the bill is allocated $25.2 billion in the Senate and $23.7 billion in the House. Once the two chambers meet in Conference Committee over the bill, they will agree upon a single amount for these programs, and it seems clear from the early action on the bill that the congressional figure will be significantly higher than the budget request. Programs of interest to the geosciences include DOE programs for renewable energy and activities within the Office of Science, such as the Basic Energy Science program that has a geoscience division, as well as some activities in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This bill also funds the Yucca Mountain site characterization activities at DOE. The Energy & Water bill is a congressional favorite for legislative riders, especially in an election year.
Most Recent Action
The House-Senate Conference Committee completed its action on H.R. 2311, the FY2002 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, on October 30th. Both chambers passed the revised bill the following day. The Senate vote was 96-2 and the House passed the bill by a 399-29 vote. Funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers totals $4.5 billion, and funding for the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation totals $914 million. The Department of Energy (DOE) is allocated $19.5 billion, which includes $396 million for renewable energy activities and $3.2 billion for science programs. Basic Energy Sciences, which is within the DOE Office of Science, received the requested $1 billion. Funding for nuclear waste disposal totals $375 million, which includes $280 million from the Defense Nuclear Waste Disposal account. Now that both chambers have passed the bill, it has been sent to the White House for presidential approval. The president signed the bill on November 12th (P.L. 107-66). More details on geoscience-related programs is available below. (11/13/01)
The House completed its review of the FY2002 Energy & Water Appropriations bill (H.R. 2311) on June 28th by passing it in a 405-15 vote. Several amendments were offered on the House floor, including a hotly debated one introduced by Rep. Jim Davis (D-FL) that would remove a provision in the legislation to prohibit the use of federal funds to advance the Gulf Stream Pipeline off the coasts of Florida and Alabama. The amendment (H. Amdt. 132) marked a continuation of a discussion that began during the House floor debate on the FY2002 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (H.R. 2217). At that time, Davis introduced an amendment (H. Amdt. 107) to H.R. 2217 that would "prevent [the] use of funds to execute a final lease agreement for oil or gas development" in the Lease Sale 181 area before April 2002. It passed in a 247-164 vote, but members of the Alabama delegation were not present during the discussion (due to a presidential visit to the state). The absence of the delegation led, according to some accounts, Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-AL), the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Appropriations, to include a provision that would prohibit any federal funds for the Gulf Stream Pipeline project. Davis's amendment removed this provision that would allow his delay amendment to the Interior Appropriations to stand. With the topic of energy at the top of the political agenda, it seems likely that the issue of the Gulf Stream Pipeline and Lease Sale 181 will come back up as H.R. 2311 continues through Congress.
Before heading to the floor for House debate, the Senate Appropriations Committee provided its report (H. Rept. 107-112) on the bill. Funding for the entire Department of Energy (minus the programs covered in the Interior Appropriations bill) would total $18.7 billion under the House version. This amount would equal an increase of $640.8 million above the President's request or a 3.5% increase -- it would be an increase of 1.5% over the FY2001 funding level.
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) that would receive $376.8 million. Geothermal programs within EERE would receive $27 million, close to double the requested $13.9 million. The report states that the request marked university research for a cut of over 80%, but that the committee recommends funding to maintain university research on geothermal technologies at last year's level of $2.6 million. Other EERE programs of interest by the numbers: hydrogen research would receive $27 million, hydropower would receive $3 million, solar energy programs would receive a total of $94.7 million, and wind energy systems would receive $40 million.
DOE's Office of Science is marked to receive a total of $3.2 billion under the House version -- basically at the requested funding level. The report states that the committee supports most of the research conducted in the Office of Science, "but funding constraints preclude significant increases this fiscal year." Basic Energy Sciences (BES) received $1 billion (a $2 million increase above the request) that would provide the requested $38.9 million for engineering and geosciences activities and $437.4 million for materials sciences activities. A majority of the committee's report on BES dealt with the creation of regional nanoscale science research centers and opening inclusion of universities into these centers.
Funding for nuclear waste disposal, which had strong administrative support in the request, would receive a grand total of $443 million -- $310 million from the Defense Nuclear Waste Disposal account and $133 from the Nuclear Waste Fund. The committee report comments on the National Research Council's report entitled "Disposition of High-Level Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel: The Continuing Societal and Technical Challenges" that was released earlier this year. In the NRC report, the panelists agreed that "geological disposition and surface storage are the only options that [they[ found to be feasible now or in the foreseeable future."
Funding for the Bureau of Reclamation water projects that fall under this bill would receive $842.9 million, which is a 2.2% over the request and almost 3.2% over last year's funding. The Army Corps of Engineers would receive $4.5 billion, an increase of almost 15% over the request but down almost 2% from last year.
The Administration's Response
On June 27th, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) that outlined problems they had with the House Energy and Water Appropriations bill. Overall, the SAP notes that the presidential National Energy Policy Report, released in May, directs the Department of Energy to review "existing energy efficiency and alternative and renewable energy research and development (R&D) programs to ensure future program budget allocations are performance-based and modeled as public-private partnerships." A major concern of the administration is that there is cost-sharing in DOE programs that benefit industry. The majority of comments in the SAP were aimed at the $568 million increase over the request for the Army Corps of Engineers for programs not included in the president's budget.
Funding for DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) would receive $435.6 million, an increase of 58% from the president's request. The Senate nearly doubled the funding for most EERE programs. Geothermal activities would increase by 130% to total $32 million. The report language states that $2.5 million of these funds should go towards the GeoPowering the West initiative. Hydropower programs would receive $9.3 million, an 86% increase. Other EERE programs by the numbers: biomass would total $103 million (up 26%), hydrogen research would receive $35 million (up 30%), solar energy would total $92.3 million (up 115%), and wind energy would total $45 million (up 120%).
The Office of Science would total of $3.3 billion for its activities, a 3.4% increase from the budget request. Within this office, the Office of Basic Energy Science (BES) would receive $1.04 billion, a 3.6% increase from the request. The Engineering and Geoscience activities would receive a 10% increase to total $42.9 million. Other BES programs by the numbers: materials science would total $454 million (up 4.6%), chemical science would total $228.7 million (up 4.6%), and energy biosciences would total $34.4 million (up 6.2%).
Unlike the House that basically would provide the president's request for nuclear waste disposal activities (aka Yucca Mountain), the Senate made heavy cuts into the Yucca Mountain activities. They would fund the program at a total of $275 million -- $25 million from the nuclear waste fund and $250 million from the defense nuclear waste disposal account. This funding level is justified in the Senate report by saying: "These efforts to accelerate the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high level radioactive waste appear to have accomplished just the opposite. The decision to prohibit the consideration of any sites other than Yucca Mountain, Nevada, engendered strong and unified opposition by the State of Nevada and its citizens, with obvious consequence. The decision to pursue only a 'bury it all and forget it' policy at a single site closed off many avenues f investigation and research into alternative disposal concepts that might better serve our Nation's needs."
The Administration's Response
After the Senate Appropriations Committee completed its action, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its Statement of Administrative Policy (SAP). The majority of the SAP focused on the DOE internal review to ensure that future funding for programs is performance-based and modeled as public-private partnerships. In response to the Senate's action to greatly reduce the funding for the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, the SAP states:
The Administration strongly objects to the Committee's reduction of $170 million for the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management. The $275 million provided is insufficient to carry out the statutory requirements of the program. It would require an immediate suspension of scientific work and result in a loss of key scientific personnel. The Federal government would lose the ability to sustain forward momentum in this program, and incur increased liability due to further delays in meeting its obligations. Significantly underfunding this program would likely leave no path forward for removing the Department's spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive wastes at Hanford Reservation, Savannah River Site, West Valley, New York, and Idaho National Environment and Engineering Laboratory. This could have serious repercussions for our national defense and could subject the Department to further litigation.
The conference report allocated a total of $4.5 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Mining Reclamation received $914 million. The Bureau's funding includes $30 million for the CALFED Bay-Delta project that has been a hot topic in Congress for the last few years. Overall the funding for the Department of Energy (DOE) was good news, with the agency receiving $19.5 billion. According to the House press release on the conference report, the appropriations for DOE is above the president's request in three areas: renewable energy technologies, environmental cleanup, and nuclear weapons.
Funding for DOE's renewable energy resources (EERE) programs totals $396 million, which includes $29 million for geothermal programs and $5.3 million for hydropower programs. In the geothermal programs, $2.6 million will go towards university research in the area and another $2.5 million will go towards the GeoPowering the West program. Wind power programs received $4 million, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will receive $5 million. DOE's Office of Science received $3.2 billion, which is a 2% increase above the budget request. Basic Energy Science (BES) within the larger science office was allocated $1 billion, which is just a smidgen under the requested level. The Engineering and geoscience programs within BES will received the requested $32 million. Nuclear Waste Disposal activities will total $375 million, of which $280 million is from the Defense account for nuclear waste disposal and $95 million is split between the repository programs and program direction accounts.
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributed by Margaret Baker, AGI Government Affairs
Posted August 7, 2001; Last Updated on November 13, 2001
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