President’s 2008 budget spurns hydro R&D

President Bush’s $2.9 trillion budget proposal for the next fiscal year calls for $24.26 billion in spending authority for the Department of Energy but includes nothing for hydropower research and development.

It is the second consecutive year in which the administration included no money for hydropower activities in the Energy Department. For fiscal year 2006, Congress appropriated $495,000 to complete the final closeout of the hydropower program.

The budget, issued Feb. 5, disregards concerns expressed in December by 80 House members who called for full funding for the department’s Advanced Hydropower Turbine Systems Program. (HNN 1/19/07)

The White House did note that remaining hydropower program activities and information were transferred to industry and the public sector. It said the program closed in fiscal year 2006, which ended in September 2006.

The president’s total budget request for the Energy Department for the 2008 fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1, is up about $700 million or about 3 percent from its 2007 request for appropriations. Congress, which delayed most spending bills last session, has not yet approved the 2007 request. (HNN 12/14/06)

Budget includes $4.8 billion for Corps civil works

The budget includes $4.871 billion in new federal funding for the Corps of Engineers’ civil works program within the Department of Defense. Several operations and maintenance activities traditionally have been funded in the construction budget. Those include rehabilitation of hydropower and navigation infrastructure, and Endangered Species Act compliance at operating projects.

The O&M account is funded at $2.471 billion, a $213 million increase from the previous budget. The new budget emphasizes performance at existing projects by focusing on the maintenance of key commercial navigation, flood and storm damage reduction, hydropower, and other facilities. The funding level is intended to meet immediate maintenance and repair needs, as well as financing rehabilitation work and asset management. The Corps said the proposed budget would fund 69 construction projects, including 11 projects involving dam safety assurance, seepage control, and static instability correction.

The budget proposes letting the Corps issue multi-year contracts in lieu of current continuing contract authority. That change would subject Corps contracts to conditions and oversight similar to those that apply to other federal agencies.

Spending plan includes $958 million for Bureau of Reclamation

The president’s budget request includes a total of $958.4 million for the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, including $77 million for the agency’s Dam Safety Program. That program will continue dam safety risk management and risk reduction activities through BuRec’s inventory of high- and significant-hazard dams. Corrective actions are planned or will start at a number of facilities, the government said. Modifications at 198.72-MW Folsom Dam will be addressed. (HNN 7/12/06)

The plan includes $35.5 million for site security to continue a program that includes physical security upgrades at key facilities, guards and patrols, anti-terrorism program activities, security risk assessments, and security-related studies. The budget also includes $15.4 million for the Lower Colorado River Operations Program to provide long-term Endangered Species Act compliance for river operations.

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