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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 2445 - Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill, FY 1994

September 28, 1993


(SENT 9/29/93)
(Senate Floor)
(Sponsors: Byrd (D), West Virginia; Johnston (D), Louisiana)

This Statement of Administration Policy expresses the Administration's views on H.R. 2445, the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill, FY 1994, as reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Administration supports Senate passage of H.R. 2445 and will work with the Congress to address the concerns described below.

Superconducting Super Collider (SSC)

The Administration commends Committee action to restore full funding for the SSC. The SSC will maintain U.S. preeminence in basic scientific research and stimulate development of new technologies in areas important to the future health of the U.S. economy.

President's Investment Program

The Committee bill supports several specific investments, including cooperative research and development agreements and most of the increase requested for solar and renewable energy programs.

The Committee bill deletes funding for construction of the Linear Accelerator B-Factory. The Administration expects the Department of Energy to select a site for the B-Factory shortly and urges the Senate to restore the $36 million requested for this project.

The Committee bill would not provide the requested $26 million for construction of the Advanced Neutron Source (ANS), one of the President's priority investment initiatives. At the same time, the Committee has added $19 million and earmarked an additional $3 million for the Los Alamos National Laboratory to operate and perform neutron scattering experiments at the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility (LAMPF). LAMPF was proposed for closure in the President's budget. There are several other facilities in the United States that can perform small scale neutron scattering experiments more cost effectively than LAMPF. The estimated long-term costs of upgrading LAMPF to a world class neutron scattering facility are $1.5 billion. An independent advisory committee (the Kohn Committee) has determined that a new reactor such as the ANS would be more capable and cost-effective and is a higher priority neutron source than an accelerator. The Administration urges the Senate to support the Administration's investment program and redirect funds from operation of LAMPF to the ANS project.

Bonneville Power Administration Language

Section 505 of the Committee bill would direct the Secretary of Energy "to submit to the Congress by February 1, 1994, a legislative proposal to satisfy the Bonneville Power Administration's entire repayment obligation to the United States Treasury for appropriated investment in the Federal Columbia River Power System." The language in this section would also impose additional specific requirements regarding the content of the required legislative proposal. The Constitution gives the President unqualified discretion to decide whether and when to propose legislation. The Administration objects to this provision on constitutional grounds and would consider such language only as advisory.

Atomic Energy Defense Activities

The Administration is pleased that the Committee has substantially adopted the funding levels in the amended budget request that was transmitted to the Congress on September 8th. Of particular importance is the full funding of the reduced request for operating funds for nuclear weapons research, development, and testing. Further reductions from this level would seriously impair the ability of the Department of Energy to assure the safety and reliability of existing nuclear weapons without nuclear tests and maintain the capability to resume testing of nuclear weapons, as directed by the President.

The Administration is also pleased that the Committee has restored the full $17 million requested for the Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrotest Facility (DARHT), which was deleted by the House. In the absence of underground nuclear weapons tests, the DARHT facility will be vital to maintaining confidence in the stockpile.

The Administration opposes the Committee's use of additional, uncosted obligational balances as a funding offset mechanism for Defense Activities. The President's request already reflects an aggressive strategy to reduce uncosted balances. The request identifies $708 million in prior-year balances as offsets for the Weapons Activities and Materials Support accounts. The House increased that sum to $752 million and identified the source of the extra funds as FY 1993 research and development funds that the Administration had requested be reprogrammed to technology commercialization activities. The Senate Committee has increased the offset to $892 million, without identifying the source of funds.

While program spending has continued to decrease from earlier expectations, there is no assurance that sufficient offsets from prior balances will be available without significantly impacting program activities. The prior-year offsets proposed by the Committee would be most difficult to achieve in the Materials Support account. The additional $100 million offset proposed by the Committee in that account could require significant workforce reductions and result in significant delays in the stabilization and transition of facilities at the Savannah River Site from production to eventual decontamination and decommissioning.

Advanced Reactor Research & Development

The Committee has rejected the Administration's proposed termination of unnecessary reactor projects, including the liquid metal reactor and the high-temperature gas-cooled reactor. The Administration also proposed to terminate the SP-100 reactor program; Committee action on this program is unclear. Instead, the Committee has added $63 million above the Administration's request to fund continued research and development for these projects. The Administration supports only elements of the actinide recycle program essential to demonstrate technological feasibility.

Defense Environmental Restoration and Waste Management

The Committee has reduced the President's $5,428 million request for Defense Environmental Restoration and Waste Management by $321 million. The Administration requests that the senate restore $41 million for a budget level of $5,148 million.

Uranium Enrichment Facilities

The Committee has rejected the President's proposal to allow the U.S. Enrichment Corporation (USEC) to determine whether to operate both U.S. uranium enrichment facilities after FY 1995. Absent the President's proposal, the USEC would have no flexibility and would have to lease both facilities for at least six years. If a cost-benefit analysis determined that only one facility is necessary, this requirement would incur a significant cost over the next five years. The Administration urges the Senate to consider the President's proposal.

The Administration objects to a provision of the Committee bill that would provide $80 million to support atomic vapor laser isotope separation (AVLIS) research and development. The administration has proposed funding this technology only if non-Federal funding is obtained.

Office of the Inspector General

The Administration encourages the Senate to restore full funding for the Office of the Inspector General. This funding is necessary so that critical audit, oversight, and investigative activities can be sustained to complement the Administration's initiatives to improve the management and financial performance of the Department and its contractors.

Army Corps of Engineers/Bureau of Reclamation

The Committee has added over $350 million to the President's request for programs of the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. Most of this increase is for unrequested construction projects and studies that the Administration does not support. The Administration would support an amendment to reduce the funding level of unrequested water projects in the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation.

Funds have been included in the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, FY 1994, to support the Administration's follow-up to the April 1993 Forest Conference. In further support of Forest Conference follow-up, the Administration would support shifting $5.0 million originally requested for the Bureau of Reclamation's Yuma Desalting Plant to the Construction program for ecosystem restoration activities in the Klamath and Trinity River Basins.

Section 102 of the Committee bill would prohibit the use of funds to transfer any functions of any Army Corps of Engineers district office. This provision would prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from making management decisions that increase efficiency and provide cost-containment. Such provisions are contrary to the government-wide recommendations of the National Performance Review. The Administration urges the Senate to remove this provision from the bill.

William J. Clinton, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 2445 - Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill, FY 1994 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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