Washington—The Senate today passed the fiscal year 2017 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill by a vote of 90-8. The bill funds key government agencies including the Department of Energy, the Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Nuclear Security Administration.
“This is the first Energy and Water appropriations bill the Senate has passed under ‘regular order’ since 2009 and I hope it restores the committee’s ability to do its work and pass appropriations bills this year,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee. “Chairman Lamar Alexander was a great partner in this effort and a big reason we were able to pass this bill on its own for the first time in six years. I’m hopeful that the strong bipartisan vote is a sign that the Senate’s appropriations process can get back on track.”
The bill includes $100 million for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Western Drought Response program to help combat the historic drought in California and other Western states through direct, immediate actions to extend limited water supplies.
“Drought in the West poses a serious threat to the economic and social wellbeing of the United States,” Feinstein said. “This $100 million is critical to operating water systems more flexibly and efficiently, restoring critical wetlands and habitat and ensuring that the best science and monitoring is being brought to bear on this crisis.”
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: The bill provides $344 million for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to fund the nation’s water infrastructure projects in California. Every one dollar spent on Army Corps of Engineer projects nets $16 in economic benefits.
- California Ports: The bill provides $50 million for ports, including Los Angeles/Long Beach and other California ports that get shortchanged by the current disbursement formula of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.
- Bureau of Reclamation: The bill provides $1.275 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation within the Department of Interior to fund water supply projects and programs in the western United States. In addition to the $100 million for urgent drought relief, the bill includes $117.46 million for water projects in California.
- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs: The bill provides $2 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. This funding supports 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 $5.4 billion for the Office of Science, $50 million more than fiscal year 2016. Nearly all Office of Science programs see significant increases and the bill fully funds the requested operational levels of scientific facilities at the national laboratories.
- Environmental Cleanup: Cleanup of Cold War and other nuclear sites is funded at $6.4 billion. This program addresses a legacy of radioactive and hazardous contamination at sites across the country and the bill addresses many of the highest environmental risks posed by these sites.
- Nuclear Weapons and Nonproliferation: The bill funds the National Nuclear Security Administration at $12.9 billion. Efforts to extend the life of the current nuclear weapons stockpile are fully funded. The Naval Reactor program fully funds the Ohio Class replacement reactor program. Funding for the Nonproliferation program meets the budget request level.