Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, today issued the following statement after the Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2020 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill:

“This bill addresses the energy and water infrastructure needs of our country, and I’m proud it received unanimous support. It’s also a major win for California, making key investments in drought mitigation, water efficiency, climate change research, nuclear waste storage and dam safety that are important to our state.”

“I’m particularly pleased that this bill takes climate change seriously and makes significant investments to combat it. It includes the highest funding levels ever for the Office of Science and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which are key to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

“I want to thank Chairman Alexander for his leadership and for working closely with me to draft this bipartisan bill and ensuring it includes priorities from all sides.”

California Water

The bill provides $565 million for Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water infrastructure and drought resilience programs in California.

“Drought is one of the greatest issues facing California and it will only grow worse as temperatures continue to rise. As we find ways to reduce carbon emissions, we need to also make smart investments in water conservation and storage to deal with the effects of climate change. We need to start preparing now for the next major drought and that’s exactly what this bill does.”

The bill:

  • Provides an additional $206 million to fund California and Western drought programs under the WIIN Act, including $134 million for water storage, $20 million for water recycling, $12 million for desalination and $40 million for environment and science projects.

  • Provides $60 million for WaterSMART grants and over $65 million for the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse program.

  • More than doubles funding for desalination research and development.

  • Provides $30 million for the San Joaquin River Restoration project.

  • Provides $13 million to update Army Corps Flood Control manuals to help places like the Oroville Dam operate more safely.

  • Provides $50 million for donor and energy transfer ports, such as the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Nuclear Waste

The bill directs the Department of Energy to create a pilot program for interim storage of spent commercial nuclear fuel.

“Given the Democratic control of the House, I’m hopeful that this is the year Congress will finally break the stalemate on dealing with nuclear waste. Spent nuclear fuel continues to sit in places like San Onofre and Diablo Canyon because we don’t have a realistic national plan of what to do with it. Our interim storage pilot program is a critical step toward consolidating the 80,000 metric tons of spent fuel around the country and preparing it for long-term storage in communities that agree to accept it.”

Additional projects

  • California cliffs: Includes $5 million for shore protection projects, in places like San Diego County where three people were killed last month after a sea cliff collapsed at Grandview Beach.

  • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs: The bill provides $2.8 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, the most ever appropriated. This funding will help combat climate change by supporting sustainable transportation programs that develop new fuels, lightweight materials, and vehicle engines; energy efficiency programs that develop standards and technologies to reduce energy bills; and renewable energy programs that work to lower the cost of solar, wind, geothermal and water power technologies.

  • Basic Scientific Research: The bill provides $7.2 billion for the Office of Science, $630 million more than last year. Nearly all Office of Science programs received significant increases, and the bill fully funds the requested operational levels of scientific facilities at the national laboratories including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

  • Environmental Cleanup: The bill provides $31 million to continue the cleanup of the Old Town and Bayview sites at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. This will allow the laboratory to build new facilities on those sites without using additional green space.