U.S. Senate panel endorses $30 million for hydro R&D

The Senate Appropriations Committee included $30 million for the Department of Energy’s hydropower research and development program in an energy and water spending bill it endorsed July 10.

The amount, for the 2009 fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2008, is less than the $40 million the House Appropriations Committee endorsed for the program in June. The House committee’s version included $30 million for ocean, marine, and in-stream renewable technologies, and $10 million for conventional hydropower. (HNN 6/25/08)

The Senate committee’s version of the energy and water appropriations bill includes $33.258 billion for DOE, the Corps of Engineers, and Department of the Interior. That amount is $1.9 billion more than President Bush requested in his proposed budget. The bill provides $27.016 billion for DOE, which is $1.124 billion more than the president’s request.

Uncertain whether Congress will move spending bills

Although Bush has threatened to veto spending bills that exceed his request, it was uncertain whether the appropriations would make it to his desk before he leaves office in January.

Reports quoted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., saying he expects the Senate only will finish work on defense and military construction spending bills before adjourning. Under one scenario, Congress could pass a continuing resolution that would fund the federal government at existing levels until a new president takes office.

Funding hydro R&D at the previous year’s level would leave the program with only $10 million, the amount Congress appropriated for DOE’s Water Power Energy R&D Program for the 2008 fiscal year, ending Sept. 30. (HNN 7/9/08)

The National Hydropower Association earlier this year called for appropriations totaling $54 million for DOE hydro R&D for FY 2009. President Bush’s proposed budget for FY 2009 included only $3 million for the department’s program.

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