Powering Strong Communities

House to consider $1.4 trillion appropriations measure

The House this week will take up consideration of a $1.367 trillion package that includes seven fiscal year (FY) 2021 spending bills, including the Energy and Water Development and Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bills.

The House Rules Committee was scheduled to meet July 28 to draft a rule for debating the measure later this week.

The legislation, H.R. 7617, provides $14.6 billion for non-defense energy programs, roughly the amount appropriated for FY 2020, and $4.8 billion more than President Donald Trump’s request.

The legislation also proposes an additional $15 billion in non-defense energy “infrastructure investments.” This includes an additional $7.8 billion for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, another $3.4 billion for the Office of Electricity, $1.3 billion for Nuclear Energy, and $1.3 billion for Fossil Energy Research and Development.

The measure would also provide $3.8 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, an increase of $25 million above the FY 2020 enacted level.

The White House is expected to threaten to veto the bill.

With respect to language included in the report accompanying the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill as reported by the House Committee on Appropriations, the committee expresses its disappointment with the lack of details in the Department of Energy (DOE) proposal for interim spent nuclear fuel storage activities.

The committee said DOE’s proposed activities seem “to be generic efforts that have been underway for years and are funded within the Office of Nuclear Energy’s Integrated Waste Management Systems program in this recommendation.”  

The committee directs DOE to move forward under existing authority to identify a site for a federal interim storage facility. DOE is further instructed to “use a consent-based approach when undertaking these activities.”

Also, the committee is calling for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to evaluate the effectiveness of its existing interregional transmission coordination requirements.

Specifically, the committee notes “the importance of interregional transmission planning to the effective deployment of renewable energy sources and encourages FERC to undertake a review.”

As part of this review and evaluation, the committee report directs FERC to “consider specific improvements to those requirements that would better promote the identification and development of more efficient and cost-effective transmission facilities and cost allocation methodologies that reflect the multiple benefits provided by interregional transmission facilities.”