The US House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water
approved fiscal year 2015 funding this week for the Department of
Energy, the Corps of Engineers and related agencies. The bill
totals US$34 billion—US$50 million below the 2014 enacted
level, but US$327 million above the President's request. It
reflects a re-ordering of priorities from the President's
request, with a major increase for the Corps of Engineers of nearly
US$1 billion and a greater emphasis within the DOE budget on fossil
and nuclear energy programs, with cuts made to renewable energy
The bill increases overall funding for DOE's energy programs
by US$113 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. Within
that total, funding for DOE's fossil energy programs is
increased by more than US$30 million and nuclear energy programs
receive nearly US$10 million over last year's level. Funding
for the office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is reduced
by US$113 million below last year's appropriation. The
subcommittee states in its bill summary that this allocation
"prioritizes and increases funding for energy programs that
encourage U.S. economic competitiveness and that help advance the
nation's goal of an 'all of the above' solution to
Funding for the Office of Science is kept the same as fiscal
year 2014, at US$5.1 billion. Within DOE's defense programs,
the subcommittee prioritizes nuclear weapons activities and funding
for the naval nuclear reactors program. Both received substantial
increases over 2014 enacted levels, while nuclear non-proliferation
programs are reduced by just under US$400 million. DOE
environmental cleanup programs are cut by more than US$200
The subcommittee provides continued support for Yucca Mountain
waste disposal activities. It allocates US$150 million to DOE's
Nuclear Waste Disposal program and US$55 million to the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission to continue the adjudication of the Yucca
Mountain license application. The bill denies funding for the
DOE's proposed non-Yucca nuclear waste disposal activities.
The bill now moves to the full House Appropriations Committee
for its consideration. The Senate has not yet taken any action on
its version of the bill, but the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee
on Energy and Water is expected to take a different approach to
funding of DOE's energy programs by rejecting the House's
large cut in renewable energy research.
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On November 19, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Maria Cantwell from the U.S. Senate's Committee on Energy and Natural Resources issued a letter to the GAO requesting that the GAO examine the efficacy of U.S. electricity capacity markets.
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