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USA House energy-water appropriations bill would slash key DOE programs

APPROPRIATIONS House bill would slash key DOE programs Geof Koss and Christa Marshall, E&E News reporters Greenwire: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 Department of Energy research and renewable energy programs would see a major funding reduction under the fiscal 2018 House energy-water appropriations bill released today, while the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) would be eliminated entirely.

The $37.5 billion bill, set for subcommittee markup tomorrow morning, would give DOE $209 million less than the fiscal 2017 spending level but $3.65 billion above the administration’s request, according to a GOP summary.

Funding priorities in the proposal include nuclear weapons activities and energy and water infrastructure, the summary said.

Nuclear weapons programs would see $13.9 billion under the bill, which House appropriators say equals a nearly $1 billion boost above fiscal 2017 enacted levels.

That amount includes $340 million for construction of South Carolina’s Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, a perennial source of tension between Congress and the executive branch.

Energy programs at DOE would see $9.6 billion next year under the bill, an amount the committee says represents a $1.7 billion cut from fiscal 2017 enacted levels but $2.3 billion more than the administration had sought.

The summary says the legislation prioritizes “early-stage research and development funding for the applied energy programs,” intended to help advance “the nation’s goal of an ‘all-of-the-above’ solution to energy independence.”……..

Yucca Mountain, Russia

House Republicans seized on President Trump’s embrace of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository that’s stalled in Nevada.

The spending bill includes $90 million to advance the project northwest of Las Vegas, which the Obama administration deemed unworkable under the watchful eye of former Senate Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, a fierce opponent.

According to the bill, money would come from the Nuclear Waste Fund. The House measure would also provide $30 million for DOE’s work on disposing of defense-related nuclear waste and $30 million for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to continue Yucca permitting activities.

The bill also lays out individual percentages that affected counties in Nevada would receive for hosting Yucca Mountain. Should the funding fail to be distributed, local officials would be cut off from future dispersals.

Furthermore, the spending bill stipulates that any money counties receive cannot be spent on litigation, interim storage or activities inconsistent with the legislation.

The bill does not otherwise include any money or language addressing interim storage of nuclear waste — a hot issue for senators eager to see solutions move forward given that Yucca could take years to complete……

The House bill also includes language that would bar any federally appropriated money from being used to forge new contracts or agreements with Russia related to nuclear nonproliferation projects without approval from the Energy secretary……… https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060056660

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June 30, 2017 - Posted by | ENERGY, politics, USA

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