House Passes Energy & Water Appropriations Bill
Chairman Mike Simpson Ensures Inclusion of Critical Funding for the INL
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson announced that the Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water Development Appropriations which passed the House of Representatives this evening, increases funding for critical programs at the Idaho National Laboratory. Simpson is Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and had the lead role in deciding funding for all Department of Energy programs.
“I am pleased to report that the Energy and Water bill increases funding for many of the vital research efforts at INL,” said Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson. “We’ve worked very hard with the Lab and the people of Eastern Idaho to promote INL, its mission, and its vital workforce as keys to a strong nuclear future here in the U.S. and across the globe. The funding increases contained in the bill will have a lasting impact on enhancing the current capabilities of the Lab and building new, unique capabilities that are essential to a vibrant national laboratory. This bill sends a strong message that INL’s work as the DOE’s lead nuclear energy laboratory is critical to our nation’s energy security.”
The FY 2015 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill sets funding for the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, and the report which accompanied the bill laid out the following funding levels for nuclear energy research and development programs:
The bill also provides $380 million for cleanup activities associated with the Idaho Cleanup Project and the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project co-located on the Idaho desert with Idaho National Laboratory. The funding level of $380 million is an increase of $13 million above the President’s request and allows the significant cleanup activities currently underway to continue. The bill also includes an additional $2 million for the National Spent Fuel Program, putting the unique expertise of INL to work in order to provide solutions for managing the Department of Energy’s inventories of spent nuclear fuel. Finally, $10 million is provided separately for security improvements of spent fuel storage at Fort St. Vrain, Colorado, which is managed by INL. Separate funding will ensure these needs do not impact the progress of ongoing cleanup activities in Idaho.
Despite the Obama Administration’s unilateral decision to disregard the federal government’s legal requirement to take responsibility for civilian spent nuclear fuel, the bill continues Nuclear Regulatory Commission funding for a nuclear waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain and to support the continued adjudication of the Yucca Mountain license application. .
Overall, the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill provides $34 billion for the functions of the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation and a number of independent agencies, including direction for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Bonneville Power Administration.
“The Energy and Water Development bill touches virtually every American in some way and is critical to our nation’s energy and national security,” said Chairman Simpson. "This bill reflects the tough decisions necessitated by our challenging fiscal environment, while placing emphasis where it is needed most: meeting critical national security needs and investing in our nation's infrastructure. It prioritizes the maintenance and safety of our nuclear weapons stockpile, while also funding important infrastructure projects and research that will increase U.S. economic competitiveness and growth."
The bill passed the House by a vote of 253-170, and will next be conferenced with the Senate version of the same bill. The complete Committee Report can be found at: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/hrpt-113-hr-fy2015-energywater.pdf