THIS JUST IN … Senate Passes Energy and Water Appropriations Bill
From Senator Feinstein’s office:
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, today issued the following statement after the Senate passed the fiscal year 2019 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill:
“This bill reflects the needs of our nation, making key investments in our water infrastructure, preventing and mitigating the effects of drought, important scientific research and developing clean energy alternatives to combat climate change.
“I want to thank Chairman Alexander for working closely with me to draft this bipartisan legislation. This is a balanced bill that includes priorities from all sides.”
The bill provides $575 million for Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water infrastructure and drought resilience programs in California.
“As California continues to recover from a historic drought, we also need to recognize the fact that climate change is increasing the potential for more severe droughts in the future. Smart investments in water conservation and storage are necessary to mitigate the effects of any future droughts. This bill continues our efforts in recent years to make those necessary investments and fund additional water programs throughout the state.”
- Provides an additional $196 million to fund California and Western drought programs under the WIIN Act, including $134 million for water storage, $20 million for water recycling, $12 million for desalination and $30 million for environment and science projects.
- Provides $34 million for WaterSMART grants and almost $55 million for the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse program.
- Increases funding for desalination research and development by almost 35 percent.
- Provides $35 million for the San Joaquin River Restoration project.
- Requires an independent risk analysis of Oroville Dam. It also requires the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to report to the committee on recommendations from an independent panel charged with reviewing the agency’s dam safety practices.
New Nuclear Weapon
The bill includes $65 million requested by the Trump administration to begin to modifying the existing W-76 warhead to create a new low-yield weapon. If fully funded, this new nuclear capability will be completed in just two years.
“We don’t need to build any new nuclear weapons, especially not low-yield weapons that dangerously increase the likelihood that they’ll be used. President Trump claims these weapons are needed to fight a ‘limited’ nuclear war against Russia. There is no such thing as a ‘limited’ nuclear war. Once a nuclear weapon is used – by any country against any target – that’s the end of us.”
The bill directs the Department of Energy to create a pilot program for interim storage of spent commercial nuclear fuel.
“Our nation needs a realistic plan for removing spent nuclear fuel from places like San Onofre and Diablo Canyon. Creating this interim storage pilot program would allow us to begin the critical step of consolidating the 80,000 metric tons of spent fuel and preparing it for long-term disposal.”
California Ports: The bill provides $50 million for ports like Los Angeles and Long Beach that get shortchanged by the current disbursement formula of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs: The bill provides $2.3 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. This funding supports sustainable transportation programs that develop new fuels, lightweight materials, and vehicle engines; energy efficiency programs that develop standards and technologies to reduce energy bills; and renewable energy programs that work to lower the cost of solar, wind, geothermal, and water power technologies.
Basic Scientific Research: The bill provides $6.65 billion for the Office of Science, $390 million more than last year. Nearly all Office of Science programs see significant increases, and the bill fully funds the requested operational levels of scientific facilities at the national laboratories.
Environmental Cleanup: The bill provides nearly $6 billion for cleanup of Cold War and other nuclear sites. This program addresses a legacy of radioactive and hazardous contamination at sites across the country and the bill addresses many of the highest environmental risks posed by these sites.
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