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Udall Secures Funding For National Labs, WIPP, Water Projects In Energy And Water Appropriations Bill

on April 15, 2016 - 8:22am
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Tom Udall joined the Senate Appropriations Committee to advance the Energy and Water appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017.
The legislation, which is critical for New Mexico, funds the national labs, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), several New Mexico water projects and other U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) programs. 
As a member of the subcommittee that wrote the legislation, Udall secured an increase in funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which will boost Los Alamos and Sandia national labs. Udall worked to ensure the bill fully funds the B61 and other nuclear weapons life extension projects at the national labs, appropriately funds WIPP recovery, advances DOE technology transfer, and that it increases funding for Los Alamos cleanup and other NNSA weapons activities. He also secured important funding for Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water projects in New Mexico. 
“Our labs and WIPP are critically important employers and crucial to our national security. I'm proud to support them — and the New Mexicans who are employed there — by working on the Senate Appropriations Committee to secure the funding these facilities need to stay strong. As the appropriations process moves forward, I will continue standing up for New Mexico's labs and WIPP,” Udall said. “After too many years of devastating sequestration budget cuts, which I opposed, we now are back to providing stable funding for our nation's priorities. This bill is a good baseline that provides important funding increases to several programs New Mexicans depend on. I'm also very pleased that through this bill we are continuing to strengthen technology transfer at the national labs. Tech transfer can help us create a vibrant private sector in New Mexico by building on the cutting-edge creativity and research at the labs and making it easier to turn researchers' great ideas into successful, home-grown businesses. Over the last couple of years, we've made good, incremental progress, but we need to keep it up. I will keep pushing for provisions that encourage the Department of Energy to advance tech transfer.”
Udall added: “Just as important as the funding for our labs and DOE installations, this bill also provides funding for Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water projects across New Mexico. This funding ensures communities can provide clean water to residents, agricultural producers and industry. I was proud to fight to ensure the bill prioritizes infrastructure projects that will support economic development, strengthen rural communities and Tribes, and benefit New Mexico communities that are most in need." 
Sen. Martin Heinrich praised the bill. Heinrich said: “This critical funding will ensure that Sandia and Los Alamos national labs and WIPP continue to play a vital role in addressing the nation's most pressing challenges and promote innovation through initiatives such as the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program and technology commercialization opportunities. LDRD is a powerful tool that helps attract and retain top researchers from around the world to our labs, fosters collaborations with both large and small businesses, and expands areas such as advanced materials and manufacturing. I’m also pleased this legislation includes funding for important water infrastructure and management projects across the state, including our tribal communities. The Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation play a critical role in supporting our state’s water needs. Access to clean drinking water is essential to public health and helps boost economic development. I commend Senator Udall for his leadership on crafting this important legislation that will undoubtedly benefit New Mexico in so many ways."
New Mexico funding and other highlights of the bill include:
Technology Transfer – Udall successfully added several provisions to the legislation 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 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 maintains our nation's nuclear weapons stockpile 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.
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory Cleanup - FY16 enacted: $185 million and FY17 Senate proposed funding level: $199 million.
  • Waste Isolation Pilot Plant - FY16 enacted: $304.8 million and FY17 Senate proposed funding level: $279.4 million.
  • NNSA Weapons Activities - FY16 enacted: $8.847 billion and FY17 Senate proposed funding level: $9.285 billion.
  • Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation - FY16 enacted: $1.940 billion and FY17 Senate proposed funding level: $1.822 billion.
  • NNSA Albuquerque Complex Replacement Project - FY16 enacted: $10.5 million and FY17 Senate proposed funding level: $15 million.
  • NNSA Life Extension Projects:
    • Los Alamos CMRR: $159 million
    • 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
    • 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: $3,200,000
    • Cochiti Lake: $3,452,000
    • Conchas Lake: $3,137,000
    • Galisteo Dam: $772,000
    • Inspection of Completed Works: $650,000
    • Jemez Canyon Dam: $1,085,000
    • Rio Grande Endangered Species Collaborative Program: $2,367,000
    • Santa Rosa Dam and Lake: $1,712,000
    • Scheduling Reservoir Operations: $213,000
    • Two Rivers Dam: $599,000
    • Upper Rio Grande Water Operations Model Study: $1,300,000
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 levees, environmental infrastructure and acequias.
  • Tribal Partnership Program - FY16 enacted: $1.5 million and 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: $87,000,000    
    • Aamodt Settlement: $6,379,000
    • Rio Grande Pueblos Project: $300,000
    • Eastern New Mexico Water Supply Project - Ute Reservoir: $1,000,000
    • Middle Rio Grande Project: $25,865,000
    • Carlsbad Water Supply Project: $4,139,000  
    • Tucumcari Project: $23,000