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Udall Advances Strong Funding For New Mexico’s National Laboratories, Water Infrastructure

on July 21, 2017 - 9:46am
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall

From the Office of U.S. Sen. Tom Udall:

  • Udall joins Appropriations Committee in approving $38.4 billion funding bill to support national labs, tech transfer, cleanup, WIPP and water projects throughout New Mexico
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that the committee has advanced legislation providing strong fiscal year 2018 funding for New Mexico’s national labs, cleanup projects and technology transfer, the Waste Isolation Pilot Program (WIPP), and water infrastructure projects throughout the state. 
 
Udall, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, which wrote the funding bill, secured a significant increase in funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), as they work to ensure the nation’s aging nuclear stockpile is safe and reliable, which will boost the Los Alamos and Sandia national labs, as well as the Albuquerque NNSA facility. Udall worked to include full funding for life extension projects (LEP) at the national labs, including the B61 and W80-4 LEP, continuing his fight for the important national security mission and to save thousands of jobs at the labs.
 
Udall also secured a $23.5 million increase for cleanup at Los Alamos National Lab, as well as strong funding for advanced biofuels and technology transfer to encourage job growth and innovation. 
 
“The essential, cutting-edge work that New Mexicans do at our national labs and Department of Energy installations helps keep this country safe and drives our state’s economy. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am proud to champion our national labs by fighting for the funding needed to keep these facilities strong,” Udall said. “This bill makes critical investments in New Mexico’s economy, including strengthening technology transfer. Tech transfer will energize New Mexico’s private sector by harnessing the vanguard research and development being carried out at our national labs – helping turn researchers’ ideas into vibrant, innovative businesses. I will keep working to advance strong funding levels to support New Mexico’s priorities and move our state out of the shadow of sequestration’s devastating budget cuts."
 
Udall also worked to include support for Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water projects in New Mexico.
 
"As a water-scarce state, New Mexico needs to make the most of every drop. This bill provides strong funding to ensure that communities can make clean water available to local residents, agricultural producers, and to industry. These investments in water infrastructure will grow local economies and strengthen rural communities and Tribes.” 
 
The bill is now pending before the full Senate. Today the Appropriations Committee also adopted informal budget levels to guide the preparation of the 12 appropriations bills that make up the federal government's annual spending, since there is no FY 2018 budget in place. Many Republicans in Congress are pushing for large increases in defense spending, but reduced federal government funding overall, which would force billions of dollars in cuts to critical programs in other agencies. Udall joined with committee Democrats in advocating for a bipartisan budget agreement that would allow for billions in additional investments in both domestic and defense-related programs. The larger debate over FY 2018 budget levels will continue as the appropriations bills move to the full Senate in the fall. 
 
The following are details of the provisions for New Mexico that Udall fought to include in the FY 2018 energy and water development funding bill: 
 
New Mexico funding and other highlights of the bill include: 
 
National Labs
The NNSA – which funds both Sandia and Los Alamos national labs and the Albuquerque NNSA facility – received a significant increase from 2017, funded at $13.685 billion. 
 
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 and W80-4 LEP. Both the B61 and W80-4 LEPs are an important part of the stockpile stewardship program. This funding benefits the important nuclear security work at both Sandia and Los Alamos national labs. 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 cuts to life extension projects, saving thousands of jobs at the labs, and he remains committed to ensuring it has funding to continue its critical national security mission.
 
Advanced Biofuels and Technology Transfer - $6.8 million for the Office of Technology Transitions, which was established in 2015 and helps to expand the commercial impact of the Department of Energy's portfolio of research, development, demonstration and deployment activities. The office works with the National Laboratories and other stakeholders to identify high value technological innovations and discoveries, and to inject resources to move them rapidly to commercialization thus enhancing U.S. competitiveness and energy technological leadership. Additionally, the bill sets aside$30 million for the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) to provide critical investments in research to develop advanced drop-in biofuels from algae.
 
Cleanup
Los Alamos Cleanup - The bill includes a $23.5 million increase for cleanup at Los Alamos National Lab to $217.5 million.
 
Waste Isolation Pilot Program (WIPP) – The bill funds WIPP at $300.9 million, plus additional funds for security – an increase of $8.2 million above fiscal year 2017. An additional $10 million is dedicated for addressing maintenance backlog issues.
 
A detailed breakdown of the Energy and Water funding for New Mexico follows
 
National Nuclear Security Administration
Overall funding for the NNSA increased to $13.685 billion and includes full funding for life extension projects. Lab totals are not broken out in the appropriations bill.
 
NNSA Weapons Activities
FY17 enacted: $8.872 billion
FY18 Senate proposed funding level: $10 billion
 
Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation
FY17 enacted: $1.925 billion
FY18 Senate proposed funding level: $1.852 billion
 
Los Alamos National Laboratory Cleanup
FY17 enacted: $194 million
FY18 Senate proposed funding level: $217.5 million
 
Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
FY17 enacted: $292 million (plus additional funds for security)
FY18 Senate proposed funding level: $300.9 million (plus additional funds for security)
 
NNSA Albuquerque Complex Replacement Project
FY17 enacted: $15.047 million
FY18 Senate proposed funding level: $98 million
 
NNSA Stockpile Stewardship Programs
B61 LEP: $788.5 million
W76 LEP: $224.1 million
W88 Alt 370 LEP: $332.2 million
W80-4 LEP: $399.09 million
Directed Stockpile Work: $3.97 billion, which includes $200 million for plutonium pit sustainment.
Inertial Confinement Fusion Ignition High Yield Campaign: $544.9 million, which includes $61.6 million for Sandia’s Z machine
Advanced Simulation and Computing: $734.2 million, including $161 million for exascale computing which is helping Los Alamos develop the next generation of advanced supercomputers.
 
NNSA Constructions Programs
Los Alamos CMRR: $180.9 million
Los Alamos TRU liquid waste facility: $17.85 million
Los Alamos Radioactive Liquid Waste treatment facility: $2.1 million
NNSA Albuquerque Facility: $98 million
 
In addition, the committee “supports the request to begin recapitalization of the NNSA’s trusted strategic microelectronics capability.” The MESA facility at Sandia is currently the only trusted strategic facility for microelectronics and upgrades will be required to continue its vital national security work into the future.
 
Army Corps of Engineers
The Senate bill includes Udall's funding requests for Army Corps of Engineers operations and maintenance
- Abiquiu Dam: $3,437,000
- Cochiti Lake: $3,178,000
- Conchas Lake: $5,769,000
- Galisteo Dam: $900,000
- Inspection of Completed Works: $652,000
- Jemez Canyon Dam: $753,000
- Middle Rio Grande Endangered Species Collaborative Program: $2,500,000
- Santa Rosa Dam and Lake: $1,583,000
- Scheduling Reservoir Operations: $383,000
- Two Rivers Dam: $592,000
- Upper Rio Grande Water Operations Model Study: $1,300,000
 
Investigations
- Espanola Valley, Rio Grande and Tributaries: $65,000
 
Construction
- Environmental Infrastructure: $60,000,000, an increase of $5 million from FY17. 
 
Tribal Partnership Program
The FY 2018 bill includes $1.5 million for the Army Corps of Engineers to collaborate with Tribes to conduct feasibility studies and carry out water resource projects that that benefit Tribal lands. 
 
Bureau of Reclamation
The bill includes Senator Udall’s Bureau of Reclamation funding requests:
 
WaterSMART: $74,035,000
$24 million in WaterSmart Grants
$6 million for Desalination Projects
$34 million for Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse projects
$5.2 million for Basin Stuides
 
Native American Affairs Program: $11,425,000
 
Indian Water Rights Settlements
- Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project: $67,797,000
- Aamodt Settlement: $8,000,000
 
Rural Water Supply Projects: $46,200,000
The bill also includes language directing DOD and BOR to work together to plan to allocate funding to directly benefit Military Base operations and national security facilities.
 
The committee is concerned that Reclamations criteria for allocating funding have not adequately accounted for projects that would directly benefit military base operations and national security facilities in the past.  The Committee directs the Department of the Interior to consult with the Department of Defense to develop a plan to adequately allocate Water and Related Resources funding that directly benefits military base operations and national security facilities.
 
The bill includes funding requests for these priority projects in New Mexico:
  • Rio Grande Pueblos Project: $1,000,000
  • Rio Grande Project: $6,656,000
  • Eastern New Mexico Water Supply Project - Ute Reservoir: $1,875,000
  • Middle Rio Grande Project: $24,518,000
  • Carlsbad Water Supply Project: $4,129,000
  • Tucumcari Project: $31,000
  • Upper Colorado River Basin Fund: $67,693,000
The bill also extends the Reclamation States Emergency Drought Relief Act of 1991 through 2022 and increases the funding cap an additional $30 million.

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