Dear Chair Lowey and Ranking Member Granger:
As the Committee prepares to mark up the Fiscal Year 2021 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urges you to support full funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Energy’s Innovation programs, the U.S.- Israel Energy Cooperative Agreement, and for the National Laboratories and offices of Science at the Department of Energy. We believe that the revitalization of our nation’s water and energy infrastructure projects will create new jobs and ultimately assist in growing the size of our economy.
The Chamber encourages the Committee to support full funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Civil Works Program authorized in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. The Chamber also encourages the House to invest all revenues collected into the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for their intended purpose of port dredging and maintenance. We strongly believe that funding for the Army Corps should largely be targeted to navigation, flood protection, and permitting priorities.
The bill includes $7.278 billion for the regular (non-emergency) activities of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works program. This critical investment will allow water navigation projects that had been delayed due to funding constraints to move into construction. The Chamber also supports annual revenues collected and deposited into the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund must be made available to the Army Corps of Engineers for their intended purposes.
The Chamber commends the Committee for its longstanding, bipartisan support of energy research and development programs that are vital to economic security and environmental progress. Specifically, there is a growing consensus that the development and commercialization of new emissions-reducing technologies are critical to determining how quickly and at what cost greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced. For these reasons, the Chamber recommends strong and sustained funding for energy innovation and R&D efforts that help advance technological solutions to climate change. In particular, we urge greater investment in high-impact, reliable, and scalable technologies such as advanced nuclear, carbon capture use and sequestration, and energy storage, including full funding for the Office of Nuclear Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, and for major demonstration projects such as the Versatile Test Reactor user facility and the proposed Grid Energy Storage Launchpad. The Chamber also supports full funding to continue the licensing process for the disposal of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.
The Chamber supports $6 million for the U.S.-Israel Energy Center. The Center will advance energy and water innovation by facilitating cooperative industrial R&D, technology sharing, regulatory convergence, training, and education among national laboratories, academic institutions, and companies in both nations. Israel has earmarked a minimum of $4 million per year for the Center, and the Chamber believes that the private sectors in the U.S. and Israel would be able to match each government’s contribution.
The National Laboratories are uniquely positioned to study and make recommendations on the critical scientific challenges of our time. The National Labs and Offices of Science work through complex issues like combatting climate change and make their work known to the business community. The Chamber supports $7 billion for the National Laboratories and Offices of Science.
The Chamber appreciates your consideration of these recommendations as you mark up the Fiscal Year 2021 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.
Neil L. Bradley
cc: Members of the House Committee on Appropriations