Alexander: Appropriations Committee Approves Energy & Water Bill That Includes Record Funding Levels for the Army Corps of Engineers, the Office of Science and ARPA-E

Posted on July 20, 2017

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2017—The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2018—legislation that Energy and Water Development Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said spurs science and energy research, supercomputing, nuclear waste consolidation, maintains our nuclear weapons stockpile, and improves water infrastructure.

“This legislation approved today by the full Senate Appropriations Committee contains record levels of funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to improve our nation’s water infrastructure, the Office of Science, which conducts basic science and energy research, and ARPA-E, which supports transformational, high-impact energy technologies,” Alexander said.

“Senator Feinstein and I have worked together under very challenging fiscal constraints this year the same way we always have – in a fair and accommodating manner – with the goal of drafting a bipartisan bill that prioritizes spending and reduces waste,” Alexander continued.

“We hope this bill can be one of the first appropriations bills considered by the full Senate this year,” Alexander concluded.

The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2018 by a vote of 30 – 1.

The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2018 includes the following priorities:

  • The bill restores $1 billion to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that was cut from President Trump’s budget, bringing the Corps’ budget up to $6.2 billion –a record funding level.
  • The bill makes full use of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund revenues for water infrastructure projects, including up to $78 million to continue construction of Chickamauga Lock in Chattanooga.
  • The legislation provides $1.67 million for dredging at Memphis Harbor McKellar Lake.
  • The U.S Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which supports basic science and energy research and is the nation’s largest supporter of research in the physical sciences, is funded at $5.55 billion, also a record funding level in a regular appropriations bill.
  • The bill includes a total of $13.7 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration, including $1.7 billion to continue the four ongoing life extension programs, which fix or replace components in weapons systems to make sure they're safe and reliable.
  • The Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex is funded at $663 million, which will continue to keep this project on time and on budget, with a completion year of 2025 at a cost no greater than $6.5 billion.
  • The legislation sends a strong signal about our support for developing new technologies that will support the next generation of nuclear power plants. The bill includes $92 million for Advanced Reactors, which is $28 million more than the president’s budget request.
  • The bill also provides $40 million for research and development to support existing nuclear reactors and $24 million for the Center for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
  • The bill advances efforts to clean up hazardous materials at Cold War-era sites. The bill provides $6.6 billion to support cleanup efforts, which is $126 million above the president’s budget request.  Included in this amount is $518 million for cleanup at the East Tennessee Technology Park, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Y-12 National Security Complex.
  • The legislation includes a pilot program to allow consolidated nuclear waste storage, supported by Senator Alexander and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the subcommittee’s ranking member, over the past three years. It also provides funding for the Department of Energy to support storing nuclear waste at private facilities.
  • The bill provides $1.49 billion for Advanced Scientific Computing and Research, including $734.2 million within the National Nuclear Security Administration and $763 million within the Office of Science.
    • This amount includes $381 million from the Office of Science and the NNSA to deliver at least one Exascale machine in 2021 to reassert U.S. leadership in this critical area.
    • It also includes $150 million for the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, an increase of $40 million above last year.
  • The bill continues to support advanced manufacturing, and includes $20 million for the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility to support the development of additive manufacturing processes, low-cost carbon fiber, and other advanced manufacturing technologies.  It also includes $14 million for the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation. 
  • The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) is funded at $330 million. ARPA-E was created by the 2007 America COMPETES Act to invest in high-impact energy technologies, and the President’s budget request recommended termination of the program.
  • The bill eliminates funding for the U.S. contribution to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor in France. This saves $50 million.
  • The bill also continues to fund regional commissions, which the administration proposed to eliminate, including $142 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission and $25 million for the Delta Regional Authority.