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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Energy and Water Development: FY2012 Appropriations

Carl E. Behrens, Coordinator
Specialist in Energy Policy

The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Energy (DOE), and a number of independent agencies.

President Obama’s FY2012 budget request for Energy and Water Development was released in February 2011, but the Congress was concerned for the first months of the year with completing the appropriations cycle for FY2011. As with other funding bills, the FY2011 Energy and Water Development bill was not taken to the floor in either the House or the Senate in the 111th Congress. Funding for its programs was included in a series of continuing resolutions, and at the beginning of the 112th Congress was part of a major debate over overall spending levels. Energy and Water Development programs were included in the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act (P.L. 112-10) that became law April 15, 2011.

For FY2012 the level of overall spending was a major issue. In addition, issues specific to Energy and Water Development programs included:
          the proposal to offset additional emergency supplemental funding for the Corps, for flood-related expenditures in the Midwest and elsewhere, with cuts in other programs; 
          the distribution of appropriations for Corps (Title I) and Reclamation (Title II) projects that have historically received congressional appropriations above Administration requests; 
          alternatives to the proposed national nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, which the Administration has abandoned (Title III: Nuclear Waste Disposal); and 
          large differences in funding proposals for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) programs (Title III).
On June 2, 2011, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development approved a FY2012 bill that would appropriate $30.6 billion for these programs, compared to the Administration’s request of $36.5 billion. The full Appropriations Committee voted out the bill (H.R. 2354) June 15. The bill passed the House July 15 by a vote of 219-196. On September 7 the Senate Appropriations Committee reported out its version of H.R. 2354 (S.Rept. 112-75).

On October 4 the House agreed to a Senate-passed version of H.R. 2608, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012, funding government programs at the FY2011 level through November 18. The bill earlier had emergency funding for the Corps and for the Federal Energy Management Administration (FEMA), but that was deleted when agreement could not be reached over whether funding should be offset.

After several more short-term continuing resolutions, the House on December 16 and Senate on December 17 passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (H.R. 2055, P.L. 112-74), including Energy and Water Development Programs in Division B. Emergency funding for the Corps was included, without offsets, in a stand-alone bill (H.R. 3672, P.L. 112-77) that passed on the same days.

Date of Report: February 6, 2012
Number of Pages: 74
Order Number: R41908
Price: $29.95

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