WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich joined the Senate, in a 90-8 vote May 12 to pass the fiscal year 2017 funding bill for Los Alamos and Sandia national labs, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and several New Mexico water projects.
The Energy and Water Appropriations Act is critical for New Mexico and supports U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) programs nationwide. Udall helped write the legislation as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. A final version of the bill now must be worked out with the U.S. House of Representatives before it can be sent to the president to be signed into law.
The bill includes several wins for New Mexico, including increased funding to support Los Alamos and Sandia national labs; full funding for the B61 and other nuclear weapons life extension projects; funding to continue WIPP recovery; and increased funding for Los Alamos cleanup and other National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) weapons activities.
Udall worked to secure several provisions to advance DOE technology transfer and encourage the growth of well-paying high-tech private sector jobs and businesses by helping researchers at Los Alamos and Sandia labs commercialize and market products spun off from their work. The bill also includes important funding for Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water projects in New Mexico.
“For New Mexico, the Energy and Water appropriations bill is all about jobs and economic development. Our national labs and WIPP are at the center of our state’s economic engine — and they also play an important role in our national security,” Udall said. “This bill supports cleanup at Los Alamos, the reopening of WIPP, and cutting-edge projects at the labs. I’ve also been working with local entrepreneurs to strengthen tech transfer, and we’ve included several measures to make it easier for researchers to turn their ideas into successful businesses. The water component of the bill advances funding that New Mexico communities depend on for clean water and agriculture. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water projects support our rural communities, and we’ve worked to ensure the bill prioritizes infrastructure projects for those most in need. After several years of eleventh-hour deals and devastating sequestration budget cuts, I’m glad the Senate has advanced an appropriations bill on a strong bipartisan vote.”
“New Mexico’s national laboratories, water infrastructure projects, and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico will all receive critical federal investments in this bipartisan bill,” Heinrich said. “This legislation fosters technology transfer opportunities by encouraging collaboration between our national laboratories and private industry, and supports restoring safe operations at WIPP. Further, this agreement makes important investments in protecting our water and boosting economic development. The Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water projects safeguard our communities from flooding and help us plan for a secure and sustainable water future. Congress must continue to work together to get things done for the American people.”
New Mexico funding and other highlights of the bill include:
Technology Transfer – Udall successfully added several provisions to the legislation in the Appropriations Committee that will support technology transfer — partnerships with New Mexico small businesses and our national labs, which bring new technologies into the marketplace and create jobs. Udall’s provisions ensure Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) is fully funded and spent on research and development. The bill also supports technology transfer by increasing the flexibility of federal matching funds to more appropriately meet the needs of emerging businesses and providing full funding for DOE’s new Office of Technology Transitions.
Life Extension Projects – The bill includes full funding for several life extension (LEP) projects carried out at Los Alamos and Sandia national labs, including the B61 LEP. The B61 LEP will maintain a key part of our nation’s nuclear deterrent, while allowing for the eventual elimination of the nation’s largest warhead, the B83. The bill’s LEP funding levels will allow the labs, if needed, to hire additional scientists and engineers to extend the life of existing warheads. Udall has successfully fought efforts to cut the program and save thousands of jobs at the labs, and he remains committed to ensuring it has funding to continue its critical national security mission.
WIPP and LANL Cleanup – The bill proposes a $14 million increase for cleanup at Los Alamos National Lab. WIPP is funded at $279.4 million, which includes $4.8 million for security and $26.8 million for the settlement with the State of New Mexico over 2014’s radiological incident.
A detailed breakdown of the Energy and Water funding for New Mexico follows:
National Nuclear Security Administration
Overall funding for the NNSA increased to $12.867 billion and includes full funding for life extension projects. Lab totals are not broken out in the appropriations bill.
NNSA Weapons Activities
FY16 enacted: $8.847 billion
FY17 Senate proposed funding level: $9.285 billion
Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation
FY16 enacted: $1.940 billion
FY17 Senate proposed funding level: $1.822 billion
Los Alamos National Laboratory Cleanup
FY16 enacted: $185 million
FY17 Senate proposed funding level: $199 million
Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
FY16 enacted: $304.8 million
FY17 Senate proposed funding level: $279.4 million
NNSA Albuquerque Complex Replacement Project
FY16 enacted: $10.5 million
FY17 Senate proposed funding level: $15 million
NNSA Life Extension Projects
B61 LEP: $616 million
W76 LEP: $223 million
W88 Alt 370 LEP: $281 million
Stockpile Services: $890 million, which includes $185 million for plutonium pit sustainment.
Inertial Confinement Fusion Ignition High Yield Campaign: $523 million
Los Alamos CMRR: $159 million
Advanced Simulation and Computing: $663 million, including $95 million for exascale computing which is helping Los Alamos develop the next generation of advanced supercomputers.
Sandia Silicon Fabrication Revitalization Project: $24.28 million
Army Corps of Engineers
The Senate bill includes all of Udall’s funding requests for Army Corps of Engineers operations and maintenance and ecosystem restoration planning:
- Rio Grande Environmental Management Program: $500,000
- Abiquiu Dam: $3.2 million
- Cochiti Lake: $3.452 million
- Conchas Lake: $3.137 million
- Galisteo Dam: $772,000
- Inspection of Completed Works: $650,000
- Jemez Canyon Dam: $1.085 million
- Rio Grande Endangered Species Collaborative Program: $2.367 million
- Santa Rosa Dam and Lake: $1.712 million
- Scheduling Reservoir Operations: $213,000
- Two Rivers Dam: $599,000
- Upper Rio Grande Water Operations Model Study: $1.3 million
Additionally, the bill includes another $697 million for the FY 2017 Army Corps of Engineers Work Plan. This fund will be available for ongoing work on projects across the country, including flood control, ecosystem restoration, environmental infrastructure and acequias.
Tribal Partnership Program
FY16 enacted: $1.5 million
FY17 Senate proposed funding level: $2 million
Bureau of Reclamation
The bill includes all of Udall’s Bureau of Reclamation funding requests:
- Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project: $87 million
- Aamodt Settlement: $6.379 million
- Rio Grande Pueblos Project: $300,000
- Eastern New Mexico Water Supply Project – Ute Reservoir: $1 million
- Middle Rio Grande Project: $25.865 million
- Carlsbad Water Supply Project: $4.139 million
- Tucumcari Project: $23,000