H.R. 2609: Energy & Water Funding Bill

On July 10, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2609, their version of the 2014 Energy and Water funding bill. Fossil fuels and nuclear power are supported; renewable energy and energy efficiency are dramatically underfunded. 

*Find in-depth discussion of this bill in Congressional Dish episode CD035: Energy & Water*

Bill Highlights

*The numbers in this bill do not include emergency funding, disaster relief, or the sequester.

Total Funding

The House wants to underfund Energy and Water programs in 2014.

  • 2014 budget request: $34,483,519,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $30,426,000,000
  • Difference: -$4,057,519,000

TITLE I: CORPS OF ENGINEERS

Construction: (For harbors, rivers, shore protection, flood & storm damage, etc.)

  • 2013 funding: $1.674 billion
  • 2014 budget request: $1.35 billion
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $1.343 billion ($7 million less than requested)

Old train depot along the Mississippi River in Vicksburg, Mississippi., May 13, 2011.

Mississippi River flood control

  • 2013 funding: $252 million
  • 2014 budget request: $279 million
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $249 million ($30 million less than requested)

Operations and Maintenance

  • 2013 funding: $2.41 billion
  • 2014 budget request: $2.588 billion
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $2.682 billion ($94 million more than requested)

A close examination of the numbers shows that projects throughout the United States are underfunded so that unrequested harbor dredging can be given over $184 million. Why?

More than 95 percent of the nation’s overseas trade by weight and more than 75 percent by value moves through the nation’s ports. Significant changes are occurring in the world’s shipping fleets, and the scheduled opening of an expanded Panama Canal in 2015 has prompted a move towards larger ships requiring deeper drafts. The United States must address these evolving infrastructure needs if the nation is to remain competitive in international markets and to continue advancing economic development and job creation domestically. – page 16 of Appropriations Committee report

Regulation Enforcement

  • 2014 Budget request: $200 million
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $193 million ($7 million less than requested)

Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies

  • 2013 funding: $27 million
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $28 million

General Provisions

Section 113: The Secretary of the Army can not enforce any regulation that prohibits someone from bringing a gun to water resource projects that are either under construction or completed.

TITLE II: DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Reclamation (manages and protects water resources)

The Appropriations Committee report reprimanded the Bureau of Reclamation because it “has not budgeted funding sufficient to implement a comprehensive program to reduce its maintenance backlog (page 71).” In response, you might think the committee would provide that funding. Wrong.

  • 2013 funding: $1.047 billion
  • 2014 budget request: $1.049 billion
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $956 million ($93.5 million less than requested)

TITLE III: DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

  • 2013 funding: $27,043,427,000
  • 2014 budget request: $28,953,893,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $24,925,252,000 ($4,028,641,000 less than requested)

Renewable Energy, Energy Reliability and Efficiency

The funding for this section was rearranged so on first glance, the following numbers are not available. You must add them up manually. The rearrangement took two accounts currently devoted to renewable energy and merged them into one.

  • 2013 funding: $1,953,591,000
  • 2014 budget request: $2,944,715,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $982,637,000 (over $1.9 billion less than requested)

Upgrades to the Power Grid

The power grid currently employs aging technologies at a time when power demands, deployment of new intermittent energy resources, and rising security threats are imposing new stresses on the system. –page 89 of the Appropriations Committee report

  • 2013 funding: $112,490,000
  • 2014 budget request: $141,400,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $80,000,000 ($61.4 million less than requested)

Vehicle Technologies to Increase Fuel Efficiency

  • 2013 funding: $328,027,000
  • 2014 budget request: $575,000,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $205,000,000 ($370 million less than requested)

Energy Efficient Buildings

  • 2013 funding: $218,685,000
  • 2014 budget request: $300,000,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $65,300,000 ($234.7 million less than requested)

Geothermal Technology

  • 2013 funding: $37,773,000
  • 2014 budget request: $60,000,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $12,000,000 ($48 million less than requested)

Solar Energy

  • 2013 funding: $288,267,000
  • 2014 budget request: $356,500,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $65,300,000 ($291,200,000 less than requested)

Wind Energy

  • 2013 funding: $93,034,000
  • 2014 budget request: $144,000,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $24,000,000 ($120,000,000 less than requested)

Energy Assistance for Poor People

  • 2013 funding: $127,234,000
  • 2014 budget request: $248,000,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $92,111,000 ($155,889,000 less than requested)

Nuclear Energy

This is another category where funds were shifted; the result is that the charts look like nuclear energy is also underfunded. It is not.

  • 2013 funding: $694,914,000
  • 2014 budget request: $641,460,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $656,389,000 ($14,929,000 more than requested)

Small Modular Reactor Programs

Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are nuclear power plants that smaller in size (300 MWe or less) than current plants (1,000 MWe or higher). These smaller, compact designs are factory-built reactors that can be transported by truck or rail to a nuclear power site to a neighborhood near you.

  • 2013 funding: $66,158,000
  • 2014 budget request: $70,000,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $110,000,000 ($40,000,000 more than requested)

Fossil Fuel Energy

  • 2013 funding: $534,000,000
  • 2014 budget request: $420,575,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $450,000,000 ($29,425,000 more than requested)

Coal Energy: Carbon Capture and Sequetration and Power Systems

  • 2013 funding: $368,609,000
  • 2014 budget request: $276,631,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $315,856,000 ($39,225,000 more than requested)

Natural Gas Energy

  • 2013 funding: $15,000,000
  • 2014 budget request: $17,000,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $7,200,000 ($9,800,000 less than requested)

Research

Science

  • 2013 funding: $4.876 billion
  • 2014 budget request: $5.153 billion
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $4.653 billion ($500 million less than requested)

Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E)

ARPA-E supports research aimed at rapidly developing energy techonologies whose developmetn and commercialization are too risky to attract sufficient private sector investment, but that are capable of significantly change the energy sector to adress our critical economic and energy security challenges. – page 111 of the Appropriations Committee report

  • 2013 funding: $265 million
  • 2014 budget request: $379 million
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $50 million ($329 million less than requested)

Nuclear Weapons

Maintenance and refurbishment of nuclear weapons to sustain their security, safety and reliability.

  • 2013 funding: $7,577,341,000
  • 2014 budget request: $7,868,409,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $7,533,000,000 ($335,409,000 less than requested)

Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation

  • 2013 funding: $2,434,303,000
  • 2014 budget request: $2,140,142,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $2,100,000,000 ($40 million less than requested)

Environmental Cleanups

Non-defense

  • 2013 funding: $235,721,000
  • 2014 budget request: $212,956,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $194,000,000 ($19 million less than requested)

Defense

  • 2013 funding: $5,023,000,000
  • 2014 budget request: $4,853,909,000
  • H.R. 2609 funding: $4,750,000,000 ($104 million less than requested)

General Provisions

Section 307: Prohibits any money in any bill for 2014 to be used to pay the salary of a Department of Energy employee who provides weatherization assistance to a poor person at the higher levels established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Section 407).