By Scott Kovac, Operations and Research Director
The White House released the top line numbers of its fiscal year 2020 Congressional budget request and, although there are some increases heading to New Mexico, they are not the increases that we’d like to see. It’s called – A Budget For a Better America, Promises Kept. Taxpayers First. but only Defense and Department of Energy (DOE) weapons contractors are going to think that anything is better. Meanwhile the rest of us taxpayers will, first and foremost, be looking at cuts to programs that affect us daily.
The 2020 Budget requests $31.7 billion for DOE, an 11-percent decrease from the 2019 enacted level. The budget requests that funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA is the DOE agency in charge of the nation’s nuclear weapons) increase by $1.3 billion, which is an 8.9% jump to $16.5 billion over the previous year (FY19) spending level. No doubt that Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory will see large increases in their nuclear weapons budgets. All the rest of DOE would decrease by $5.2 billion, which would be a cut of 25.4% down to $15.2 billion. The request for cleanup of 16 Cold War nuclear weapons production sites is $6.5 billion. At this time, with these preliminary budget numbers, it’s unclear if this $6.5B is a decrease.
Also proposed is an increase in funding for Consolidated Interim Storage, which is the plan to bring the nations’ used commercial reactor fuel to NM and/or Texas on the NM border. This budget request would also bring surplus plutonium to NM. The Budget moves forward with the Dilute and Dispose approach to disposing of surplus plutonium and makes investments at Los Alamos National Laboratory to further accelerate plutonium disposition. The surplus plutonium would be heading to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in southeast NM.
The full budget request is due out next week. Be sure and check back for our analysis.
In the meantime, call your Congressional delegation and oppose increased funding for nuclear weapons. The US House and Senate will take up this budget request and make their own suggestions.
The Environmental Protection Agency would continue to get slashed. The Budget requests $6.1 billion for EPA, a $2.8 billion or 31-percent decrease from the 2019 estimate.
Renewable Energy technologies would take a big hit.
DOE programs that would be eliminated –
This budget request states – “The Budget reasserts that the proper role of the Federal government is to focus resources on early-stage research and development (R&D) of energy technologies.” However, DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, which advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment would be eliminated.
XVII Innovative Technology Loan guarantee Program
The Title XVII innovative clean energy projects loan program (Title XVII) provides loan guarantees to accelerate the deployment of innovative clean energy technology. The U.S. Department of Energy is authorized to issue loan guarantees pursuant to Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Loan guarantees are made to qualified projects and applicants who apply for funding in response to open technology-specific solicitations.
The Title XVII loan program applies to a wide range of energy technologies, including advanced fossil energy, nuclear energy, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.
Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program
The Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) direct loan program was established in Section 136 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to support the production of fuel-efficient, advanced technology vehicles and qualifying components in the United States.
The ATVM loan program provides direct loans to automotive or component manufacturers for reequipping, expanding, or establishing manufacturing facilities in the U.S. that produce fuel-efficient advanced technology vehicles or qualifying components, or for engineering integration performed in the U.S. for advanced technology vehicles or qualifying components.
Tribal Energy Loan guarantee Program.
The Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee Program (TELGP) is a partial loan guarantee program that can guarantee up to $2 billion in loans to support economic opportunities to tribes through energy development projects and activities. Under this solicitation, DOE can guarantee up to 90 percent of the unpaid principal and interest due on any loan made to a federally recognized Indian tribe for energy development. The tribal borrower will be required to invest equity in the project and all project debt will be provided by non-federal lenders.
Repeals the Western Area Power Administration’s borrowing authority
(A) the Western Area Power Administration may borrow funds from the Treasury; and
(B) the Secretary shall, without further appropriation and without fiscal year limitation, loan to the Western Area Power Administration, on such terms as may be fixed by the Administrator and the Secretary, such sums (not to exceed, in the aggregate (including deferred interest), $3,250,000,000 in outstanding repayable balances at any one time) as, in the judgment of the Administrator, are from time to time required for the purpose of—
(i) constructing, financing, facilitating, planning, operating, maintaining, or studying construction of new or upgraded electric power transmission lines and related facilities with at least one terminus within the area served by the Western Area Power Administration; and
(ii) delivering or facilitating the delivery of power generated by renewable energy resources constructed or reasonably expected to be constructed after February 17, 2009.
Find the White House Preliminary Budget here
Read the SF New Mexican article here
Read the Defense News article here