On May 21, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved a $46.4 billion appropriations measure on a 31 to 21 vote that would fund the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), certain Department of Interior (DOI) programs and other federal energy and water programs. This funding level represents a $1.8 billion increase over FY 2019 funding levels. The “Energy and Water” appropriations bill is important to counties because it funds federal energy and water infrastructure programs and projects that help counties build and maintain water infrastructure and protect communities operating energy waste facilities.
Overall, the Army Corps would receive $7.36 billion, $357 million above FY 2019 funding levels. It also includes $1.7 billion for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, $200 million above FY 2019 levels, and would allow full use of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.
DOE would receive $37.1 billion in overall funding, an increase of $1.4 billion above FY 2019 funding levels. The bill includes funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), which works to develop and promote clean, affordable and secure energy. Under the bill, EERE would receive $2.6 billion, $500 million above FY 2019. The measure also includes $150 million for efforts to secure the nation’s energy infrastructure against hazards, reduce the risks of and impacts from cybersecurity events, and assist with restoration activities.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is responsible for monitoring the U.S. nuclear fleet and decommissioning nuclear-power stations, would receive $130 million. This provision is relevant for those counties that have nuclear waste facilities within their boundaries. However, the bill does not contain funding for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada.
A portion of the DOI’s funding is included in the bill. For example, the measure includes $1.65 billion for DOI’s reclamation programs, which is used to clean up abandoned hard rock and coal mines. This represents an $82.8 million increase from FY 2019 funding levels.
NACo will continue to track this legislation, as well as the broader appropriations process, and engage with appropriators to ensure that federal spending priorities reflect the needs and interests of America’s counties.