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Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-NJ 11th
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to bring the fiscal year 2012 Energy and Water appropriations bill before the House this afternoon.
Before I begin my remarks, let me thank the full chairman, Mr. Rogers, as well as the ranking member, Mr. Dicks, for their support of a very open process and their support of me as well as the ranking member. I would particularly like to thank my ranking member, Congressman Pete Visclosky, for his dedication to our joint mission and our close working relationship. The bill is stronger for his input and knowledge.
I would also like to thank the committee staff, Rob Blair, the clerk; Joe Levin, Loraine Heckenberg, Angie Giancarlo, and Perry Yates. On the minority side, I would like to thank Taunja Berquam. I would also like to thank my personal staff, Nancy Fox and Kathleen Hazlett, and certainly recognize Mr. Visclosky's personal staff in the form of Joe DeVo.
Mr. Chairman, the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill supports programs critical to our Nation's security, safety, and economic competitiveness. Mr. Chairman, for far too long Federal agencies have been assuming ever-increasing budgets, leading to programs with poor rationale and even less accountability. Those days are behind us now. This bill clearly shows that much greater fiscal discipline and a strong national defense and a strong economy can be achieved together.
The bill for fiscal year 2012 provides $30.6 billion, $1 billion below fiscal year 2011, and $5.9 billion below the President's request, bringing the total spending levels for our bill down to approaching the fiscal year 2006 level. An additional $1.03 billion is emergency offset funding which is provided to help recovery and repair efforts due to the severe floods we have seen in the Mississippi and Missouri River regions. These floods have resulted in immense devastation and loss of life and
livelihoods. I commend the good work of the Army Corps, which is in the front lines, along with municipal, county, State, and other Federal first responders when tragedies like this occur.
Mr. Chairman, there are no congressional earmarks in this legislation. The highest national priorities are protected by supporting the Department of Energy's national defense programs [Page: H4777]
and by preserving activities that directly support American competitiveness, such as water infrastructure and basic science research.
The bill also supports critical national security programs by providing $10.6 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration, including $195.3 million above fiscal year 2011 for weapons activities to support the modernization of our nuclear stockpile.
The bill also supports urgent, ongoing efforts to secure vulnerable nuclear materials worldwide and the full request to design a reactor for the replacement of the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.
We've seen how catastrophic flooding can affect many lives locally and the economy nationally, and we know that yesterday's crisis could be anywhere tomorrow. This bill protects public safety and keeps America open for business by providing $4.7 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, $195 million above the President's request, and $89 million below fiscal year 2011. The bill makes funds available above the President's request for navigation and flood control, the activities most critical to
public safety, jobs, and the economy, and gives the Corps 45 days to deliver and justify their spending plans.
This will give each project, whether in the President's budget or not, the opportunity to compete for these funds and ensure we understand how the Corps really develops its request.
Science research at the Department of Energy strengthens American competitiveness and enables true breakthroughs in the energy sector, and the bill preserves strong funding for this program at $4.8 billion, just $43 million below fiscal year 2011.
The committee continues to support nuclear energy, providing $8 million above the request for ongoing research in promising new programs such as small modular reactors, which it funds at the request level. By reducing funding where stimulus funds are still available or where the private sector is able to invest without Federal help, the bill reduces funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy to $1.3 billion, $491 million below fiscal year 2011.
The bill also upholds historic cleanup responsibilities by funding defense environmental cleanup at $4.9 billion, less than 1 percent below last year's programmatic level, and includes language to curb the department's use of bartering to evade congressional oversight.
Finally, this bill includes numerous steps across all accounts to ensure the administration follows the will of Congress. For example, it includes funding and restrictions enforcing that Yucca Mountain is the law of the land and cannot be stopped by executive action alone. Over the years, this House, in a bipartisan fashion, has been fighting this administration's disdain for sound science and the hard-earned tax dollars of our constituents that went into building that disposal site.
Now the Government Accountability Office has issued a report saying that there is no scientific reason for shutting down Yucca, and the administration has been forced to release its own review showing that the science actually supports Yucca. Even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's own Inspector General has released findings highly critical of the way the NRC chairman has withheld information regarding Yucca Mountain from the public and his fellow commissioners. This bill supports these findings
by including $35 million to keep Yucca Mountain going and language to ensure that political appointees at the NRC can no longer inappropriately use their insider positions.
It also includes new reporting requirements so the administration must track, and show, that the investments we make in science and technology are effective uses of taxpayer dollars.
Mr. Chairman, I take seriously our responsibility to rein in Federal spending in fiscal year 2012. The bill is premised upon hard questions, and focused cuts where the answers didn't hold up to scrutiny. This is the sort of analysis that will get our fiscal house in order. This bill deserves our Members' support, and I look forward to an open and full process and discussion.
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I reserve the balance of my time.