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May 11, 2006

First Appropriations Numbers for ACI

The first appropriations numbers for elements of the President's American Competitiveness Initiative are starting to percolate out, and they're good. The House Energy and Water Appropriations subcommittee marked up their FY07 E&W Approps bill today, which contains funding for Department of Energy's Office of Science. The appropriators have included the full funding requested by the President for ACI at the Office of Science -- a 14 percent increase for the office over the FY 2006 level. The appropriators also included about $30 million within the office in "Congressionally directed funding," but that is over and above the ACI amount. So very good news there.

Word is also that Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), who chairs the Science, State, Justice, Commerce appropriations subcommittee (which includes ACI agencies NSF and NIST), has said that he's "taken care of ACI" in his bill as well. The SSJC bill won't be marked up until June, but full funding of ACI would mean a 7.8 percent increase to NSF and a 24 percent increase to NIST's core research programs -- though the NIST number is a little trickier because of likely earmarking.

Wolf anticipates there will be some effort once the bill reaches the House floor to divert some of the ACI funding to other areas of the bill that received cuts (as happens every year with science funding) and so he's looking to the science community to help with the fight. CRA will participate in that effort -- we'll have details soon how you can help, too.

No word yet on the Senate number -- though for NSF, it's not expected to be quite as good. The Senate appropriators are apparently more inclined to "take care" of NASA and NOAA in their bill, as those agencies didn't fare quite as well in the President's budget.

Of course, the fact that the House seems much more on board with actually providing funding for ACI is ironic given how non-committal (or downright hostile) the leadership seemed to be over the initiative in recent months. But that's Washington....

Anyway, I'll have more updates as the numbers become a little clearer. In the meantime, here's a bit of the press release issued by the Energy and Water Appropriations subcommittee today.

ENERGY INITIATIVES:
The bill provides $24.373 billion for the Department of Energy, $327 million above the FY2006 level and $299 million above the request.
  • The bill fully funds the American Competitiveness Initiative which would strengthen basic research by increasing funding for the DOE Office of Science, for a total of $4.132 billion.† In addition, the bill supports the Advanced Energy Initiative by increasing funding for a variety of clean energy technologies, including biomass, hydrogen, solar, wind, and clean coal.
  • The bill provides $150 million for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), the administrationís initiative on recycling spent nuclear fuel, $96 million below the request but at the level authorized in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
  • Energy Supply and Conservation programs are funded at $2.0 billion, $102 million above FY06. The bill restores reductions in other essential energy programs, such as support for university nuclear energy education (funded at $27 million) and weatherization assistance (restoring $78 million cut for a total of $242.5 million).
  • Fossil Energy research and development programs are funded at $558 million, an increase of $88.5 over the request, to include $54 million for FutureGen, and $36.4 million for the Clean Coal Power Initiative.
  • The Bill funds the Yucca Mountain repository at $544.5 million.† This includes $156.4 million for Nuclear Waste Disposal and $388 million for Defense Nuclear Waste Disposal.† In addition, the Committee provides another $30 million for interim storage of spent fuel, subject to authorization.
  • The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which includes the nuclear weapons program, defense nuclear nonproliferation, naval reactors and the Office of the Administrator, is funded at $9.2 billion, an increase of $95 million over last year and $116 million below the Presidentís request.† Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation activities are funded at $1.6 billion, $22 million below FY06 and $133 million below the request.† The bill provides $105 million for container screening at foreign ports, $65 million above the request.† Weapons activities are funded at $6.4 billion, $42 million above FY06 and $4 million above the request.† Within the Weapons Activities account, the bill targets $140 million for weapons complex reform and consolidation activities.
  • Defense Environmental Cleanup programs are funded at $5.55 billion, an increase of $161.5 million over the request.† The Chairmanís mark provides $600 million for the Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant.†† Non-defense Environmental Cleanup activities are funded at $309.9 million, a decrease of $0.4 million below the request.†
  • The Power Marketing Administrations are funded at $252 million, $18 million below last year and the same as the request.†
  • The Denali Commission total funding is $7.5 million.† Appalachian Regional Commission is reduced by $30 million, total funding is $35.5 million††† The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is funded at $808.4 million, an increase of $40 million to provide for the anticipated growth in reactor license applications.
  • The bill terminates the following programs:
    • State energy program grants:† $49.5 million
    • Geothermal R&D technology: †$23 million
    • Natural gas R&D technologies: †$20 million
    • Construction of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Plant and the Pit Disassembly and Conversion Facility at the Savannah Site:† $368 million
  • The bill reduces total earmarks by $200 million, or 16 percent, compared to last yearís House bill.
  • Posted by PeterHarsha at May 11, 2006 05:16 PM
    Posted to American Competitiveness Initiative | FY07 Appropriations | Funding