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FY2004 Energy and Water Appropriations (11-19-03)

The Energy and Water Appropriations bill provides funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Energy (DOE; other than fossil energy and energy efficiency programs), the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation, and several independent agencies. Programs of interest to the geosciences include DOE programs for renewable energy (particularly geothermal) and activities within the Office of Science, such as the Basic Energy Science program which 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 and environmental remediation of the nuclear weapons complex at DOE.

Most Recent Action: The Energy and Water Conference Committee completed its work reconciling the differing House and Senate appropriations bills in early November, filing H. Rept. 108-357. On November 17th the House passed the conference report by a vote of 387-36. On the same day, the Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent, sending it to President Bush for his signature. Generally, the final allocation meets the Administration's budget request for the Department of Energy (DOE), with adjustments for some programs. Total funding for the DOE is $22 billion, an increase of almost $1.2 billion over fiscal year 2003 and $147 million below the budget request. Details below.

 

FY04 Energy and Water Appropriations Process

Account

FY03 Enacted
($million)

House Action
($million)

Senate Action
($million)

FY04 Enacted
($million)

Department of Energy (total)

20,800

22,160

22,000

22,000

22,000

Renewable Energy Resources

420

444

330

359

344

--Geothermal Technology Development

30

25

25

26

26

--Hydropower

5

8

5

5

5

Non-Defense Site Acceleration Completion

159

171

170

172

163

Non-Defense Environmental Services

144

292

320

302

340

Defense Environmental Management

6,720

6,800

6,750

6,760

6,626

--Defense Site Acceleration Completion

account did not exist

5,800

5,800

5,800

5,651

--Defense Environmental Services

account did not exist

995

990

987

991

Basic Energy Sciences

1,000

1,000

1,000

1,000

1,016

--Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Energy Biosciences

217

221

221

221

221

Nuclear Waste Disposal*

144

161

535

140

190

Defense Nuclear Waste Disposal*

313

430

430

285

390

National Climate Change Technology Initiative

account did not exist

15

0

0

0

* These two accounts combined fund the Yucca Mountain project.

President's Request

The president's fiscal year (FY) 2004 budget request of $23.4 billion for DOE marks an increase of nearly 6% from last year's request.  Funds totaling $3.3 billion were requested for the DOE Office of Science, which supports fundamental research at universities and national laboratories. This represents a small increase from last year's request and is essentially flat compared with the FY 2003 allocation. Within the Office of Science, requested funds for the Basic Energy Sciences programs are similarly flat at $1 billion. The budget request includes $591 million for licensing and program management activities atYucca Mountain, basically flat from last year's request but an increase of nearly 58% from the allocation two years ago. Within this amount, there is a sizable jump in funding for activities related to waste acceptance, storage, and transportation in anticipation of the repository accepting waste by 2010. The DOE Environmental Management activities, which include defense, non-defense and uranium facility cleanup programs, requested a total of $7.2 billion, a 5% increase from the comparable FY 2003 budget request. Additional information on the president's budget requests can be found in AGI's Special Update: FY2004 Budget Requests for Department of Energy.

House Action

The House Appropriations Committee filed its explanatory report (H.Rept 108-212) and bill (H.R. 2754) in July. Generally, the recommendation meets the Administration's budget request for the Department of Energy (DOE), with adjustments for some programs. Total funding for the DOE is $22 billion, an increase of almost $1.2 billion over fiscal year 2003 and $147 million below the budget request.

Within the energy supply account, the renewable energy resources would receive $330 million, which is $63 million less than last year and $114 million below the budget request. Of this change, $77 million is the result of the transfer of activities to the new Electricity Transmission and Distribution program. Geothermal technology development would receive the requested $25.5 million, which is a decrease of $4.5 million from last year. The Committee directs DOE to maintain university research funding at the FY 2003 level. Hydropower would be funded at $5.5 million, a $1 million decrease from last year's allocation.

The Committee provided no funding for the DOE's National Climate Change Technology Initiative (NCCTI). DOE requested $15 million for the Renewable Energy Resources portion of the program, which was intended to be pooled with $2.28 million from Nuclear Energy and $22.7 from the Interior and Related Agencies appropriation to "issue a competitive solicitation for new technologies to address climate change". The Committee explains its decision by expressing support for "the competitive approach to acquiring innovative climate change technologies from academia and the private sector," but rejecting the combining of funds from two appropriations bills into a single new program. The Committee directs DOE "to apply the competitive approach to the other funding already being spent on climate change within the Department," noting that the FY2004 request includes over $1.6 billion for research and development activities related to climate change, of which over $1.1 billion is funded in the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill. In addition, the Committee asks DOE "to report on the amount of Energy and Water-funded climate change work that was competitively awarded in fiscal year 2003, and to increase that amount by $100 million for fiscal year 2004."

DOE's Environmental Management (EM) program includes both defense and non-defense environmental cleanup as well as activities related to uranium facilities. In total, the budget request was $6.7 billion for these programs. The House bill would provide a total of $7.5 billion, which is an 11% increase from the budget request.

Funding for Defense Environmental Management would total $6.75 billion, which amounts to $25 million more than the FY 2003 appropriation and $61 million less than the budget estimate. DOE has restructured the Defense Environmental Management budget for FY 2004 in order to "focus on accelerated cleanup and closure." The primary change is the combining of the Defense Environmental Restoration and Waste Management, Defense Facilities Closure and Defense Privatization accounts into the new Defense Site Acceleration Completion and Defense Environmental Services accounts. Defense Site Acceleration is by far the largest of these accounts

Non-defense EM activities, which include the uranium facilities maintenance and remediation account that would be funded at the requested $382.2 million, would receive $213.3 million, an increase of more than 28% from the budget request.

Activities at the DOE Office of Science would receive a slight increase from last year to total $3.3 billion, which is just under the president's budget request for these activities. Report language noted the committee's concern about "the growing imbalance in the Federal investment in research in the physical sciences versus the life sciences." The committee did not make any specific recommendations, instead stating that it "hopes that the Department submits a fiscal year 2004 budget request that will support a robust physical sciences research program in the Office of Science." Basic Energy Science (BES) within the Office of Science would receive the requested $1 billion, which is a slight increase from last year's allocation. BES funds basic research in the physical, biological and engineering sciences that support the Department's nuclear and non-nuclear technology programs, and includes operation of large national user research facilities. Within BES, the "chemical science, geosciences and energy biosciences" account that combined the former "engineering and geosciences" account with the "energy biosciences" account would also receive the requested $220 million.

Major differences between the House and Senate bills are apparent in the Nuclear Waste Disposal provisions. Neither chamber provided Yucca Mountain with the full $275.8 million in non-defense spending requested by the president. Defense activities at Yucca Mountain received funding at the full request, $315 million. The House would provide a total of $524.7 million in both defense and non-defense funding for the Yucca Mountain project. Funding for the non-defense activities would come to $209.7 million, a 24% decrease from the request but a level that is more than double last year's allocation. Not only did the House not fund the full non-defense request but also it rejected an additional $66.1 million requested in an amended budget request for DOE.

Also funded through the Energy and Water Appropriations bill is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation at the Department of the Interior. Funding for the Army Corps of Engineers would come to $4.6 billion. The Bureau of Reclamation would receive $807.5 million, an increase or 11% more than the request and 6% more than last year's funding level.

Senate Action

On July 17th, the Senate passed the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill (S. 1424) and released the accompanying report (S. Rept. 108-105). The Senate bill provides $22.1 billion for the Department of Energy (DOE), which is $15 million below the president’s request and $1.3 billion over the current year level.

Renewable energy resources, part of the energy supply account, would receive $358.5 million, which is $61 million less than last year and $85.5 million below the budget request. Geothermal technology development would receive $26.3 million, which is an increase of $800,000 over the request, and includes continued funding (at current year levels) for GeoPowering the West. The committee provides hydropower with $5 million, a reduction of $2.5 million from the request. The amount includes $400,000 to assess low-head and low-power resources.

Although the DOE requested $15 million for the Climate Change Technology Program (CCTP), the Committee provides no "separate funding" for the initiative. CCTP is a collaborative interagency program established along with the Climate Change Science Program in 2002 with the aim of supporting "competitive solicitations to promote applied research that has, as its primary goal, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions or the sequestration of greenhouse gases." Report language indicates support for the goals of the initiative, but recommends funding for the development of climate change technologies from "within the existing renewable energy and nuclear energy programs."

The Non-Defense Site Acceleration Completion program is slated to recieve $171.9 million, which is $1 million over the requested amount. The program is responsible for managing and addressing the environmental legacy resulting from nuclear energy and civilian energy research programs. The committee recommends $302.1 million for the Non-Defense Environmental Services program, an increase of $10 million from the budget request. The program supports non-defense related activities that indirectly support the primary environmental management mission of accelerated risk reduction and closure.

The 2004 budget restructures DOE's Defense Environmental Management programs by transferring activities previously funded under the Defense Environmental Restoration and Waste Management account, the Defense Facilities Closure Projects account, and the Defense Environmental Management Privatization account to the Defense Site Acceleration Completion account and the Defense Environmental Services accounts. The program is responsible for "identifying and reducing health and safety risks, and managing waste at sites where the Department carried out defense nuclear energy or weapons research and production activities which resulted in radioactive, hazardous, and mixed waste contamination." The committee recommends a total of $6.76 billion for Defense Environmental Management, which is about $51 million less than the requested figure. The lion's share of this appropriation, $5.77 billion ($43 million less than requested), goes to the Defense Site Acceleration Completion Account. Defense Environmental Services is slated to recieve $988 million, or about $7 million less than the budget request.

For Basic Energy Sciences (BES), the Committee recommendation includes $1.008 billion, the same as the budget request but about $15 million short of last year's funding level. The Senate bill meets the requested amount of $220.9 million for the chemical sciences, geosciences, and energy biosciences account. This funding level represents an increase of $4 million from FY2003.

The Committee recommendation includes a total of $425 million for nuclear waste disposal, including $140 million in the nuclear waste fund and $285 million in the `Defense nuclear waste disposal' account. These appropriations levels reveal a $100 million gap between House and Senate positions on nuclear waste disposal, as the House bill would provide a total of $525 million. The Senate bill designates $21 million less than requested for the nuclear waste fund and $145 million below the budget request for defense nuclear waste disposal. Report language is critical of DOE for failing to request funding for state or county oversight programs, noting that this "indicates a disturbing lack of support for congressionally-mandated programs to identify impacts, to make comments and recommendations to the Secretary, and to provide information about the repository to local residents, particularly concerning policy developments at the national level." The committee provides $2.5 million for the State of Nevada and $8 million for "affected units of local government in accordance with the statutory restrictions contained in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act", and strongly urges DOE to include this funding in its FY2005 request.

Conference Committee Action

The Energy and Water Conference Committee completed its work reconciling the differing House and Senate appropriations bills in early November, filing H. Rept. 108-357. On November 17th the House passed the conference report by a vote of 387-36. On the same day, the Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent. Generally, the final allocation meets the Administration's budget request for the Department of Energy (DOE), with adjustments for some programs. Total funding for the DOE is $22 billion, an increase of almost $1.2 billion over fiscal year 2003 and $147 million below the budget request.

Within the energy supply account, renewable energy resource R&D would receive $344 million, which is $76 million less than last year and $100 million below the budget request. Much of the reduction is the result of the transfer of activities to the new Electricity Transmission and Distribution program. Geothermal technology development will receive $1 million more than the requested $25 million, but that is still a decrease of $4 million from last year. The conferees direct DOE to continue funding university research and Geopowering the West at the FY 2003 funding level. The conference agreement includes $1 million each for the Full Circle Project in Lake County, California, and for geothermal research at the University of Nevada-Reno. Hydropower will be funded at $5 million, the same as last year's allocation. Within the $5 million, the conferees included $400,000 to assess low-head and low-power hydropower resources.

The Committee provided no funding for the DOE's National Climate Change Technology Initiative (NCCTI) as neither the House or Senate had funded it in their respective bills (see above).

DOE's Environmental Management (EM) program includes defense and non-defense environmental cleanup as well as activities related to uranium facilities. In total, the budget request was $7 billion for these programs. The final bill will provide a total of $6.63 billion for defense environmental cleanup, which is $174 million less than the budget request. The non-defense programs get a boost over last year and are slated to receive nearly $503 million in FY04. This reflects a trend in EM programs toward tackling sites that can be cleaned up and put on a path to long-term stewardship first, then wrestling with sites that require long-term clean-up or isolation solutions.

DOE's Office of Science is funded at $3.45 billion for FY04, an increase of $140 million over the budget request and $156 million above fiscal year 2003. Funding for basic energy sciences is $1.0 billion, $8 million over the request. The chemical sciences, geosciences and energy biosciences account received $4 million more than last year, bringing the account up to the President's request of $221 million.

Major differences between the House and Senate bills about nuclear waste disposal were one of the major sticking points during conference negotiations. The conferees provided a total of $580 million for nuclear waste disposal, $11 million below the budget request and $123 million more than fiscal year 2003. Despite the contentious funding debate (see AGI's October 2003 Monthly Review), no explanatory language or rationalizations about this funding level were included in the conference report.

Also funded through the Energy and Water Appropriations bill is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation at the Department of the Interior. Funding for the Army Corps would come to $4.57 billion. The Bureau of Reclamation would receive $948 million, an increase of $70 million over the President's request and $13 million above FY 2003 funding.

Sources: Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, E&ENews Publications, House Committee on Appropriations, Library of Congress, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Washington Post, and the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program at govt@agiweb.org.

Contributed by Brett Beaulieu, AGI/AIPG 2003 Summer Intern; Emily M. Lehr, AGI Government Affairs Program Staff

Last Update November 14, 2003