First Information: FY 2013 Funding for the Department of Energy

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Publication date: 
20 April 2012

The FY 2013 appropriations process moved into a new  phase with the drafting of several appropriations bills providing significant  support for physics and related research programs. This week, the House Energy  and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee and the House Commerce,  Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee voted their approval of two  funding bills for the fiscal year starting on October 1.  These bills now go to the full House  Appropriations Committee before they are sent to the floor.  Also this week, the full Senate  Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2013 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations  Bill.

This FYI provides excerpts from materials released  by House appropriators relating to the Department of Energy.  A subsequent FYI will provide information  regarding House and Senate appropriations for the National Science Foundation,  NASA, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

From the April 18 statement of Energy and Water  Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ):

“The bill for fiscal year 2013 totals $32.1 billion,  $965 million below the request and $88 million above 2012.     “This last figure - the above 2012 part - is a  little misleading. There were many rescissions that we took in 2012 that we  can’t take this year. Setting those aside, the bill is actually $623 million  below last year.     “Not surprisingly, we had to make some hard choices  to reach that level, and I appreciate everyone’s help to get there. The  recommendation continues to prioritize investments in our nuclear security  enterprise, programs to address gasoline prices, and opportunities to advance  American competitiveness, including the Corps of Engineers.”

“Overall, security funding is increased by $275  million over last year. Weapons Program funding for fiscal year 2013 is at the  request, although we do make some changes to increase funding for some priority  programs, like the W76 life extension program. Funding for Nonproliferation,  although below the request, actually increases for some core programs. $100  million is provided to support new uranium enrichment activities.”

“Funding for American innovation and competitiveness  also receives priority treatment. Within Science research, funding for the domestic  fusion program is restored to last year’s level, and the international fusion  program is increased to come closer to our commitments.

“Nuclear  energy is funded at last year’s level, an increase of approximately $90 million  from the request. Within that level, the Small Modular Reactors program would  receive $114 million in order to keep it on its five-year funding profile.”

“I can’t let a markup go by without a word about  Yucca Mountain. The policy implemented in the recommendation is that Yucca  Mountain is the law of the land, and any efforts to move past Yucca Mountain  require Congressional action. The recommendation includes $25 million to move  the project forward, along with similar language as last year’s prohibiting  activities which would keep the facility from being unusable in the future.  The recommendation denies funding for Blue  Ribbon Commission activities which need authorization. Research and development  activities which do not need authorization and are to support Yucca Mountain  are permitted.  This policy will ensure  that we keep Congress in the driver’s seat for nuclear waste policy, not the  Administration.”

From the April 18 opening statement of Subcommittee Ranking  Member Peter Visclosky (D-IN):

“As you have already pointed out, the allocation for  Energy and Water, $32.1 billion, is nearly one billion below the President’s  budget request and $88 million over 2012. I know you were faced with very  difficult decisions with this allocation.

“Let me first express my appreciation for the  inclusion of additional funds for core Nonproliferation activities and the  focus on American manufacturing.

“I would also  note my support for some of the things you did not do -- there are no new  Department of Energy hubs or new starts in the Corps of Engineers.

“I do have concerns with amounts provided to certain  accounts within the bill, in particular the reduction in funding relative to  last year’s level for the Corps of Engineers and the Office of Science. I am  convinced that if we do not make proactive investments in our physical and  research infrastructure we are risking the economic competiveness of our  nation. Unfortunately, despite the Chairman’s best efforts on these fronts, the  Subcommittee’s allocation will result in a bill that continues the dramatic  underinvestment in our nation’s waterways and scientists.”

From an April 17 House Appropriations Committee  release:

“Nuclear Security -- The bill provides a total of  $11.3 billion for DOE’s nuclear security programs, including Weapons Activities,  Nuclear Nonproliferation, and Naval Reactors. This is a $275 million increase  from last year. This critical national defense funding will maintain the safety  and readiness of the nation’s nuclear stockpile -- including full funding of  the President’s $7.6 billion request to modernize the nation’s nuclear weapons  stockpile and its supporting infrastructure. Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation  is funded at $2.3 billion, $41 million less than fiscal year 2012. The bill  also provides $1.1 billion for Naval Nuclear Reactors.”

“Energy  Programs -- The bill provides funding to help support economic development and  promote the nation’s energy independence. The bill includes $554 million - $207  million above last year’s level - for research and development to advance coal,  natural gas, oil, and other fossil energy technologies that provide more than  83% of the nation’s energy. The bill also includes $765 million for nuclear  energy research, development, and demonstration activities to further the next  generation of safe, secure, and economically beneficial nuclear power options  while ensuring the safety and longevity of our current plants. The bill  includes $200 million to support the activities of the Advanced Research  Projects Agency-Energy.” 

“Yucca  Mountain -- The bill continues Congressional efforts to roll back the Obama  Administration’s politically motivated Yucca Mountain policy that runs contrary  to the will of the Congress and the American people. In this vein, the bill  provides $25 million to support Yucca Mountain activities to continue the  viability of the program for the future. “

“Science  Research -- The bill includes $4.8 billion for science research. This funding  will help strengthen innovation and help spur future economic growth through  the development of high performance computing systems, basic scientific  exploration, and research into the next generation of clean energy sources.  Within this amount, the bill restores many of the cuts to the fusion energy  program proposed by the President. This basic research will lay the groundwork  for more efficient and practical domestic energy solutions in the future to  help reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and help promote future  growth in American businesses and industries.”

Further  information on this bill will be provided after the committee report is  released.  A review of the Administration’s  FY 2013 request for various DOE programs is here.

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