Norm Dicks' Statement on the FY2012 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

June 1, 2011
Press Release
Norm Dicks' Statement on the FY2012 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON- House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rep. Norm Dicks made the following comments after release of the FY2012 Energy and Water bill text:

"When Democrats were first made aware of the 302(b) Subcommittee Allocation for Energy and Water, as with the other allocations, we knew it would necessitate severe cuts to vital programs. I understand the difficult position this put Chairman Frelinghuysen in crafting this bill.

"The 'cut-at-any-cost' mantra that has overtaken the Republican Majority has severely hindered our committee's ability to produce bills that adhere to principles of good governance. This bill contains inadequate funding levels for fuel efficiency initiatives, the Army Corps budget, and environmental cleanup. Penny-wise, pound-foolish decisions in the present will look foolish in the future.

"In 2005, when flooding devastated the city of New Orleans, the message was loud and clear: going forward we must protect vulnerable areas with sound infrastructure investments or risk greater humanitarian and fiscal repercussions. Since then we've spent more federal money rebuilding New Orleans than we have in nearly three years on every other water project in the country. We did not make the proper initial investments and we should have learned from that mistake.

"The funds needed to protect our communities and prepare for the future would be even further delayed under this bill.

"Approximately half of the Energy and Water bill is defense related, including the nuclear weapons program and non-proliferation activities. Given instability in the Middle East and elsewhere, these programs are more important than ever. At this allocation, we may not be able to provide the level of national security we need.

"As if this bill wasn't hard enough to pass already, the Majority has included a restriction of funds on enforcing Davis Bacon wage rate requirements and the Clean Water Act.

"I'll remind my colleagues at every point possible in this appropriations process: I'll do whatever I can to assist in the procedure of this year's Appropriations bills. However, the low funding levels for so many programs that are necessary for national security and protection of our communities prevents me from supporting this bill."

Total Allocation: $30.6 billion | -$1.0 billion below the FY2011 Enacted | -$5.9 billion below the President's FY2012 Request.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation: The bill provides $2.06 billion total, -$217 million below the FY2011 enacted level and -$463 million below the President's request.

Army Corps of Engineers: The bill provides $4.77 billion total, -$89 million below the FY2011 enacted level and $195 million above the President's request.

Defense Nuclear Environmental Cleanup: The bill provides $4.9 billion total, -$42 million below the FY2011 enacted level and -$469 million below the President's request. These funds are used to mitigate the environmental impact after over a half-century of national security nuclear activity. This level of funding will negatively impact the Department's ability to meet regulatory commitments to state and local governments.

Energy Efficiency: The bill provides $1.3 billion total, -$491 million below the FY2011 enacted level and -$1.9 billion below the President's request. This bill ignores the national security problem posed by our energy supply. We have to make the necessary investments to lower our dependence on imported oil. Of note:

Solar Energy: The bill provides $166 million total, -$97 million below the FY2011 enacted level and -$291 million below the President's request.

Fuel Efficient Vehicle Technologies: The bill provides $254 million total, -$46 million below the FY2011 enacted level and -$334 million below the President's request. These funds are used to improve fuel efficiency with better engines, better batteries and engines that burn clean, domestic fuel. The bill also reduces Vehicle Technology Deployment by more than -$200 million, a program which expands electric transportation initiatives.

Building Technologies: The bill provides $150 million total, -$61 million below the FY2011 enacted level and -$321 million below the President's request. These funds are used to research energy-efficient technologies in buildings which account for roughly 40% of all U.S. energy use. The bill also proves no funds for the Race to the Green competitive grant program which incentives streamlined energy efficiency regulations, codes and performance standards through a competitive grant process.

Biomass and Bio-Refinery Research and Development: The bill provides $150 million total, -$33 million below the FY2011 enacted level and -$191 billion below the President's request.

Weatherization Assistance: The bill provides $33 million total, -$141 million below the FY2011 enacted level and -$287 million below the President's request.

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(PDF of Release)

112th Congress