On June 28, the House approved H.R. 2311, the fiscal year 2002 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill, by a vote of 405 to 15. The House Appropriations Committee had approved the bill and report on June 25. The bill is expected to be considered by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on July 12.
Overall, the House bill provides $23.7 billion in new discretionary budget authority, $148 million above the FY 2001 level and $1.2 billion above the FY 2002 President's Budget. This total includes $24.2 billion in new current budget authority, which is partially offset by various scorekeeping credits. Within the total current budget authority, $18.7 billion was provided for Department of Energy programs ($641 million above the Budget), $4.5 billion for the Corps of Engineers ($568 million above the Budget), and $1.0 billion for other agencies. In particular, $842.9 million was provided for Department of the Interior programs, $26.3 million over the FY 2001 level and $23.2 million over the FY 2002 President's Budget.
The House bill provides $806.7 million for Reclamation accounts, $29.9 million over the FY 2001 level and $23.2 million over the FY 2002 President's Budget. The most significant action by the House was to not provide the $20.0 million requested for the California Bay-Delta Restoration Program, due to the absence of authorizing legislation for the Program. The House report states that the Committee remains very supportive of the efforts that have been made to develop the Program, that it is aware that authorizing legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate, and that it will reconsider funding for the program as the FY 2002 Energy and Water Development bill moves through the appropriations process.
Funds provided for Water and Related Resources, Reclamation's primary operating account, total $691.2 million, $12.2 million above FY 2001 and $43.2 million above the request. Within this total, the House added $54.6 million for specific projects, programs, or studies; but offset these increases by reducing the funding requested for other projects and programs by $5.1 million, and by increasing the "allowance for slippage" by $6.4 million.
In general, the increases provided by the House are to accelerate work on ongoing projects and studies. These increases include:
- $11.0 million for water reuse projects and studies,
- $9.2 million for Central Valley Project (CA) activities,
- $5.0 million for the Mid-Dakota Rural Water Project (SD),
- $5.0 million for the Mni Wiconi Rural Water System (SD),
- $4.0 million for the Animas-La Plata Project (CO),
- $3.3 million for Lake Tahoe Regional Wetlands Development (CA, NV), and
- $2.7 million for the Salton Sea research project (CA).
In addition, the House provided $5.0 million for a Sacramento River Diversion Study (CA), $4.0 million to initiate construction of the Fort Peck/Dry Prairie Rural Water Project (MT), and $2.0 million to establish a "Weather Damage Modification Program", including research involving the states of Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas.
The House provided the amounts requested for the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund ($55.0 million), for the Policy and Administration account ($53.0 million), and for the Loan Program ($7.5 million). Continuing a practice initiated in FY 2001, the House report earmarks the use of a portion of the receipts in the CVP Restoration Fund for specific projects.
The House provided $36.2 million for completion of the Central Utah Project, $3.6 million below the FY 2001 level but the same as the President's Budget.
The House bill contains two general provisions relating to Reclamation's activities on California's American River. The first prohibits Reclamation from spending appropriated funds to issue permits for commercial rafting activities at the Auburn State Recreation Area until environmental requirements are met. The second clarifies that the local flood control agency is to pay the costs for providing any water needed to make up for shortages caused by flood control operations at Folsom Dam.
The House bill also contains a provision prohibiting the Army Corps of Engineers from spending appropriated funds to revise the Missouri River Master Water Control Manual, if such revision provides for an increase in water releases during the Spring heavy rainfall and snow melt period in States with tributaries below Gavins Point Dam. A biological opinion issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service in November 2000 requires implementation of a spring rise and summer drawdown from Gavins Point Dam to avoid jeopardy to several listed species.