Chairman Frelinghuysen Prepared Statement on FY 2012 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill at Subcommittee Markup

Jun 6, 2011

“I would like to thank Mr. Pastor and all members for their participation in putting this bill together and in many oversight hearings.

“The Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill supports programs critical to our nation’s security, safety, and economic competitiveness. This year, we make tough choices to balance these critical needs against the equally-pressing mandate of getting our nation’s fiscal house in order.
The bill for fiscal year 2012 provides $30.639 billion, $1.043 billion below fiscal year 2011 and $5.9 billion below the President's request — bringing the total down to approximately the fiscal year 2005 level.

“The highest priorities are protected by supporting the Department of Energy’s national defense programs, and by preserving activities that directly support American competitiveness, such as water infrastructure and basic science research.

“These priorities are balanced by reductions to applied energy research and other areas in which the private sector is most likely to act without federal support.

“The bill supports critical national security programs by providing $10.6 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration, including $195.3 million above fiscal year 2011 for Weapons Activities to support modernization of the nuclear arsenal.

“The bill also fully supports urgent ongoing efforts to secure vulnerable nuclear materials worldwide, and the full request to design a new reactor for the replacement of the OHIO Class ballistic missile submarine.

“We’ve seen how waterway flooding can affect many lives locally and the economy nationally, and yesterday’s crisis could be anywhere tomorrow. (I note that yesterday marked the official start of Hurricane Season in the Atlantic Basin –   the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico.)

“The bill protects public safety and keeps America open for business by providing $4.768 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, $195 million above the request and $89 million below fiscal year 2011.

“In order to maintain the Constitutional role of Congress in the Appropriations process, funding for Presidential projects has been reduced. Of course, the President’s priorities are important.  However, so are those “life and safety” projects brought to the Committee’s attention by members of both parties.

“The bill makes general program funds available above the President’s request for navigation and flood control—the activities most critical to public safety, jobs, and the economy—and gives the Corps 45 days to deliver and justify its spending plan.  This will give each project, whether in the President’s budget or not, the opportunity to compete for these funds, and ensure we understand how the Corps really develops its request.  

“Science research at the Department of Energy strengthens American competitiveness and enables true breakthroughs in the energy sector, and the bill preserves strong funding for this program at $4.8 billion, just $43 million below fiscal year 2011.  The bill also increase the number of HUBS from 3 to 5.

“The Committee continues to support nuclear energy, providing $8 million above the request for ongoing research and promising new programs such as small modular reactors, which it funds at the request level.

“By reducing funding where stimulus funds are still available or where the private sector is able to invest without federal help, the bill reduces funding for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to $1.3 billion, $491 million below fiscal year 2011.

“The bill upholds historic cleanup responsibilities by funding Defense Environmental Cleanup at $4.9 billion, less than 1 percent below last year’s programmatic level, and includes language to curb the Department’s illegal use of uranium bartering.

“The bill provides $160 million to support loan guarantees while preserving existing loan authority.
The bill includes $35 million to support Yucca Mountain activities, including $10 million at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and enforces stronger oversight of the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“The Committee takes seriously its responsibility to reign in federal spending in fiscal year 2012. We had to make some difficult choices, but in the balance, I think this is a fair bill.”