Source: US House of Representatives: Committee on Appropriations | Release | June 27, 2017

Increasing national security, safeguarding U.S. nuclear weapons, and maintaining critical infrastructure are funding priorities 

The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2018 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation provides annual funding for national defense nuclear weapons activities, the Army Corps of Engineers, various programs under the Department of Energy (DOE), and other related agencies.

The bill totals $37.56 billion – $209 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $3.65 billion above the President’s budget request. Funding is targeted toward national security efforts – including nuclear weapons activities – and energy and water infrastructure investments.

“National security is our number-one priority, and this bill will fund essential programs that maintain our nuclear deterrence posture in the face of growing global threats – including North Korea and other countries that are testing the tolerance of the international community,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said. “Further, this legislation will make important investments in our energy development and water infrastructure to keep our economy growing and to continue the country’s lead in essential energy technology and innovation.”

Energy and Water Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson also commented on the importance of the bill:

“This bill prioritizes fulfilling our national security needs and maintaining critical investments to support American competitiveness within tight budget caps,” said Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson. “It strikes a responsible balance between the modernization and safety of our nuclear weapons, advancing our national infrastructure, and strategic investments in basic science and energy R&D.”

A summary of the subcommittee draft of the fiscal year 2018 Energy and Water Appropriations bill follows:

The bill totals $37.56 billion – $209 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $3.65 billion above the President’s budget request.

The bill provides strong national security investments, including increases above fiscal year 2017 for nuclear weapons programs. The bill also protects funding for critical national and regional waterways – which handle commerce valued at more than $2 trillion annually – through the Army Corps of Engineers, and programs that encourage energy independence and economic competitiveness.

Nuclear Security – To address our national security needs and meet emerging threats from around the globe, the bill provides a total of $13.9 billion for DOE’s nuclear weapons security programs, including Weapons Activities, Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, and Naval Reactors – a $976 million increase above the fiscal year 2017 level. This funding will uphold the nation’s nuclear deterrence posture, maintain the safety and readiness of our weapons stockpile, and allow the U.S. to meet any nuclear threat. This includes:

• $10.24 billion for Weapons Activities – $921 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level – to maintain a strong nuclear deterrence posture;

• $1.486 billion for Naval Nuclear Reactors – $66 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level; and

• $1.83 billion for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation – $76.5 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This includes $340 million in funding to help fulfill the international commitment by the U.S. to construct the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility to dispose of surplus plutonium.

Army Corps of Engineers – The Army Corps of Engineers is funded at $6.16 billion, an increase of $120 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $1.16 billion above the President’s budget request. The bill focuses funding on activities that will have an immediate impact on public safety, job creation, and economic growth, including those that help increase the functionality of our ports and waterways. For example, the bill provides:

• $2.8 billion for navigation projects and studies, including $1.34 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

• $1.8 billion to support public health and safety by funding flood and storm damage reduction activities, an increase of $74 million above fiscal year 2017 and $424 million above the budget request.

Environmental Cleanup – Included in the legislation is $6.4 billion for environmental management activities, $24.6 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This includes $5.4 billion for Defense Environmental Cleanup, the same as fiscal year 2017, to safely clean sites contaminated by previous nuclear weapons production.

Energy Programs  Funding for energy programs within DOE is $9.6 billion – a decrease of $1.7 billion below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $2.3 billion above the President’s request. Within this total, the bill prioritizes early-stage research and development funding for the applied energy programs. Funding within the accounts is targeted to encourage U.S. economic competitiveness and help advance the nation’s goal of an “all-of-the-above” solution to energy independence.

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, are funded at $635 million – a decrease of $33 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $355 million above the budget request.

In addition, to promote innovation and growth in nuclear energy, research, development, and demonstration activities are funded at $969 million – $48 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $266 million above the request.

Renewable energy programs, which have already received significant investments in recent years, are cut by $986 million compared to fiscal year 2017 and increased by $468 million compared to the President’s budget request.

Science Research – The bill includes $5.4 billion for science research – the same as the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This funding supports basic energy research, the development of high-performance computing systems, and research into the next generation of energy sources. These investments lay the groundwork for a more secure energy future, helping to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and ensuring continued economic growth.

Bureau of Reclamation  The legislation contains $1.24 billion – $79 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $132 million above 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. The bill includes $83 million for the second year of funding for water storage, desalination, and water recycling and reuse projects authorized in the WIIN Act.

Yucca Mountain – The bill continues congressional efforts to support the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository, providing $90 million for the Nuclear Waste Disposal program, $30 million for Defense Nuclear Waste Disposal, and $30 million for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to continue the adjudication of DOE’s Yucca Mountain License application.

Other policy items:

  • The bill includes language authorizing the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretary of the Army to withdraw the Waters of the United States rule.
  • The bill restricts the application of the Clean Water Act in certain agricultural areas, including farm ponds and irrigation ditches.
  • The bill includes language – as in previous years – allowing the possession of firearms on Corps of Engineers lands.
  • The bill includes language prohibiting new nuclear nonproliferation projects in Russia without certain notifications from the Secretary of Energy.

For the complete text of the subcommittee draft of the FY 2018 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, please click here.