Chairman Mike Simpson Floor Statement in Support of H.R. 4923, the Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

Jul 9, 2014

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Chairman Mike Simpson made the following statement on the House floor today in support of H.R. 4923, the Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill:

It’s my distinct honor to present the Fiscal Year 2015 Energy and Water bill for consideration before the full House.

I’d like to recognize the efforts of Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey to bring this bill to the floor. Their efforts to bring the appropriations process back to regular order ensure that our federal discretionary spending receives the full scrutiny of this body, and our committee process.

I’d also like to thank Ranking Member Kaptur for all of her work. Her contributions and advice have made this legislation stronger.

The bill before you totals $34.01 billion for the activities of the Department of Energy, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and other agencies under our jurisdiction. This is a $50 million reduction from last year’s funding levels.

The bill prioritizes investments in this nation’s infrastructure and national defense. As we do each year, we worked hard to incorporate priorities and perspectives from both sides of the aisle.

For instance, this bill overcomes the budget request’s proposed cut of nearly $1 billion to the critical programs of the Army Corps of Engineers.

The request would have led to economic disruptions as our ports and waterways filled in and would have left our communities and businesses vulnerable to flooding.  Instead, this bill recognizes the critical work of the Corps and provides $5.492 billion for those activities, $959 million above the request and $25 million above last year.

The bill takes a strong stand against government overreach by prohibiting changes to the definitions of “waters of the United States” and “fill material”.

The bill also provides $11.361 billion for the atomic security, nonproliferation, and naval reactors programs of the National Nuclear Security Administration, a $154 million increase from fiscal year 2014.

The bill is clear about our concern with Russia’s recent activities in eastern Europe. It eliminates all new funding for nonproliferation funding in Russia and requires that before the Secretary of Energy funds any activity in Russia, he must certify that the activity is in our national security interests.

Mr. Chairman, Russia’s activities in Ukraine have shown once again how important our nuclear security umbrella is to our allies. We’ve also seen how Russia has used Ukraine’s reliance on natural gas to put pressure on its new leadership. And the movements by insurgents to occupy Iraq threaten to drive oil prices through the roof.

Our country has abundant natural energy resources, and it is our national security and economic interest to ensure they are fully and responsibly used. That’s why this bill makes strong, balanced investments in our energy sector to ensure that our constituents continue to have reliable, affordable energy.

Fossil energy, which provided more than 71 percent of our electricity production in 2013, receives $593 million, a $31 million increase above fiscal year 2014. Nuclear energy is increased by $10 million above last year. Energy efficiency and renewable energy are slightly reduced by $113 million from last year. This balanced investment prioritizes improvements to energy sources that we rely upon today, while making longer-term investments in alternative energy sources.

Thank you for your time and attention.