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Simpson’s Energy and Water Legislation Passes the House

House approves legislation including Energy and Water, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch Appropriations bill

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Washington, June 8, 2018 | comments

Simpson’s Energy and Water Legislation Passes the House

House approves legislation including Energy and Water, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch Appropriations bill

 

Washington, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson praised the passage of H.R. 5895, which included the Fiscal Year 2019 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. The U.S. House of Representatives approved the legislation with a final vote count of 235-179. H.R. 5895 provides funding for the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, and cleanup activities in Idaho. 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.

 

“The FY19 Energy and Water bill recognizes the leading national role that the Idaho National Laboratory plays in enhancing our national security and increasing American competitiveness,” said Chairman Simpson.  “I’m proud to support their groundbreaking research in advanced reactor and fuel development, battery and bioenergy programs, and protecting the electric grid from cyber-attacks, and I am pleased this bill fulfills their needs to continue this critical work.”

 

The FY 2019 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill sets funding for the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy at $1.2 billion.  Nuclear energy research and development programs that receive funding within the overall $1.2 billion allocation include:

 

·         The Idaho Facilities Management account, which covers infrastructure maintenance and improvement at INL, is funded at $322 million – a $28 million increase over last year.

·         INL’s Safeguards and Security Program is funded at $146 million – an increase of $13 million over fiscal year 2018.

·         The Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies program is funded at $164.3 million – an increase of $5.3 million above fiscal year 2018. 

·         The Light Water Reactor Sustainability program, which is managed by INL and promotes the continued safe operation of America’s existing nuclear reactors, is funded at $50 million, the same as last year.

·         The Reactor Concepts Research, Development, and Demonstration account is funded at $370 million – an increase of $133 million above last year. Within the overall level for this account, $34 million is allocated to fuel qualification for the High Temperature Gas Reactor, and $100 million is for Advanced Small Modular Reactor Research and Development to support technical, first-of-its-kind engineering and design and regulatory development of next generation light water and non-light water reactor technologies. 

·         Within the Fuel Cycle Research and Development program, the Advanced Fuels program is funded at $128.5 million; and Used Nuclear Fuel Disposition research and development is funded at $62.5 million.

 

Other vital priorities funded within the Energy and Water division include: 

 

·         Within the Office of Naval Reactors, the bill includes $85.5 million for the operation of the Advanced Test Reactor. 

·         Within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, $25 million is included for energy efficient mobility systems and over $27 million for the Lab’s bioenergy program, and $9 million for the integrated energy systems.

·         Provides significant investment in cyber security grid protection work that the Idaho National Laboratory leads. 

·         A provision to allow recharge of the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer during flood releases and high flow events at the Palisades Reservoir. 

 

The bill also provides $420 million for cleanup activities associated with the Idaho Cleanup Project and the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project co-located on the Idaho desert with INL.  The funding level will allow the significant cleanup activities currently underway to continue. The bill also includes an additional $5 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. 

 

The bill also contains funding to support the continued adjudication of the Yucca Mountain license application, ensuring the federal government will meet its commitments to Idaho and other states and dispose of used nuclear fuel.

 

Overall, the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill provides $44.7 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.

 

“This is a well-balanced bill that places emphasis where it is needed most: meeting critical national security needs and investing in our nation's infrastructure," Chairman Simpson said.  "It prioritizes the maintenance and security of our nuclear weapons stockpile, while also supporting infrastructure projects and strategic research and development that will increase U.S. economic growth and competitiveness.”

 

Simpson also praised the passage of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Bill for Fiscal Year 2019, which was included in H.R. 5895.  “This FY19 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill is landmark legislation- besides rebuilding our military infrastructure, the bill provides the largest dollar increase in history for the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The bill funds healthcare for our veterans, modernizes the VA records system, continues to rebuild military infrastructure, and addresses the veterans compensation claims backlog.  I am extremely proud to support this legislation which upholds our responsibility to veterans and military families.” 

 

The FY19 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Bill also includes:

 

·         $8.6 billion for mental health care services

·         $7.4 billion for homeless veterans services

·         $270 million for rural veterans’ health initiatives

·         $1.6 billion for housing for military families

 

H.R. 5895 will now be conferenced with the Senate version of these pieces of legislation. 

 

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