News Release

CONGRESSMAN BISHOP STATEMENT REGARDING FY 2016 ENERGY AND WATER APPROPRIATIONS BILL MARK UP

For Immediate Release: May 15, 2015 at 5:15 am

Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Member of the House Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after the full Appropriations Committee approved its Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill. The government spending bill now goes to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for its consideration. “Provisions in the bill support various construction efforts in Georgia including just over $47 million for the Savannah Harbor, common sense solutions to potential issues with the conservation of energy in Georgia, and reinforcement of industries dependant on imports and exports,” said Congressman Bishop. “Nationally, the bill prioritizes funding for nuclear security, environmental cleanup activities, energy research, and the Army Corps of Engineers. These provisions will positively affect public safety, job creation, and the economy as a whole.

A summary of the subcommittee draft of the fiscal year 2016 Energy and Water Appropriations bill follows:

 

BACKGROUND & BILL HIGHLIGHTS:

The bill totals $35.4 billion – $1.2 billion above the Fiscal Year 2015 enacted level and $633 million below the President’s request.

The bill delivers strong support for our national security, providing substantial increases for nuclear weapons programs above fiscal year 2015. The bill also protects funding for critical national and regional waterways – which handle commerce valued at more than $1.7 trillion annually – through the Army Corps of Engineers, and programs that encourage energy independence and economic competitiveness. To meet these needs, the legislation contains targeted reductions to lower-priority or unnecessary programs.

Georgia – The bill provides $47.034 million for the Savannah Harbor; $21.050 million for the Savannah Harbor expansion (SHEP), $17.321 million for operations and maintenance, and $8.663 million for disposal areas. The bill also provides $1.525 million to the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, Flint Rivers and $12.141 million to Buford Dam and Lake Lanier for expenses necessary for the operation, maintenance, and care of existing rivers and dams.

Nuclear Security – The bill provides a total of $12.3 billion for DOE’s nuclear weapons security programs, including Weapons Activities, Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, and Naval Reactors. This is a $922 million increase above the fiscal year 2015 level. This critical national defense funding will allow the U.S. to uphold its nuclear deterrence posture and prepare for current and future nuclear threats by maintaining the safety and readiness of our nuclear stockpile. This includes:

  • $8.7 billion for Weapons Activities – $526 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level;
  • $1.3 billion for Naval Nuclear Reactors – $86 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level; and
  • $1.9 billion for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation – $291 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level.

Army Corps of Engineers – The Army Corps of Engineers is funded at $5.6 billion, an increase of $142 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $865 million above the President’s budget request. The bill focuses funding on activities that will have an immediate impact on public safety, job creation, and the economy, including those that help ensure our waterways stay open for business. For example, the bill provides:

  • $2.4 billion for navigation projects and studies, including $1.178 billion in funding from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and full use of estimated annual revenues from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, to help advance American competitiveness and export ability; and
  • $1.6 billion to support public health and safety by funding flood and storm damage reduction activities – including $310 million for the most critical dam safety improvements.

Environmental Cleanup – Included in the legislation is $5.9 billion for environmental management activities, $39 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. This includes;

  • $5.1 billion for Defense Environmental Cleanup to safely clean sites contaminated by previous nuclear weapons production, as well as additional funding for various other non-defense related nuclear sites.

Energy Programs – Funding for energy programs within DOE is $10.3 billion – an increase of $64 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $1.3 billion below the President's request. Within this total, the bill prioritizes and increases funding for energy programs that encourage U.S. economic competitiveness and that help advance the nation’s goal of an “all-of-the-above” solution to energy independence.

  • $605 million – an increase of $34 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level – for research and development to advance coal, natural gas, oil, and other fossil energy technologies, which will help the country make greater use of our rich natural energy resources and help keep down energy costs; and
  • $936 million – an increase of $23 million – for funding for nuclear energy research, development, and demonstration activities; and
  • $1.7 billion for renewable energy programs, which are cut by $279 million from last year’s enacted level.

Science Research – The bill includes $5.1 billion for science research – an increase of $29 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. This funding will help strengthen the nation’s science and technology innovation by supporting basic energy research, development of high-performance computing systems, and research into the next generation of clean energy sources. This basic research will lay the groundwork for more efficient and practical domestic energy solutions to help reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and help promote future growth in American businesses and industries.

Bureau of Reclamation - The legislation contains $1.1 billion – $35 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $1 million below the President’s request – for the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation to help manage, develop, and protect the water resources of Western states.

Yucca Mountain – The bill continues congressional efforts to support the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository, providing $150 million for the Nuclear Waste Disposal program and $50 million for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to continue the adjudication of DOE’s Yucca Mountain License application. The legislation also denies an Administration proposal for non-Yucca nuclear waste activities.

OTHER WATER & ENERGY ISSUES:

  • The bill prohibits any changes to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.
  • The bill prohibits any changes to the definition of “fill material” and “discharge of fill material” for the purposes of the Clean Water Act.
  • The bill restricts the application of the Clean Water Act in certain agricultural areas, including farm ponds and irrigation ditches.
  • The bill includes language allowing the possession of firearms on Corps of Engineers lands.