From my new site, Hill Heat:
The House today had the floor debate on the $1.1 billion in member earmarks to the FY 2008 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill (HR 2641) approved last week by the House Appropriations Committee in a voice vote.
The measure, House Report 110-185 Part 2 (pdf), amounts to about 3 percent of the $31.6 billion the bill would provide to the Energy Department, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Reclamation and several independent agencies.
The committee estimates that $3.4 billion of the bill goes to elements dealing with climate change, $1 billion more than in the President’s budget request. More on both the original bill and the earmarks below.
Energy efficiency and research elements of the original report include:
- $158 million for DOE Climate Change Research an increase of $20 million (by way of comparison, $428 million is going to fusion research)
- $1.6 billion for renewable energy and energy conservation R&D programs, an increase of $528 million over the budget request.
- $195 million for hydrogen fuel cells, a decrease of $18.4 million below the budget request
- $250 million for biomass R&D, an increase of $71 million
- $200 million for solar energy programs, an increase of $52 million
- $57.5 million for wind energy systems, an increase of $17.4 million
- $44.3 million for geothermal (not in the budget request at all)
- $22 million for hydropower (not in the budget request)
- $235 million for hybrid vehicles and related automotive R&D, an increase of $59 million
- $146 million for building efficiency programs, an increase of $60 million
- $57 million for efficiency programs for energy-intensive industries, an increase of $11 million
- $27 million for Federal Energy Management Programs, an increase of $10 million
- $246 million for weatherization assistance program grants, an increase of $102 million
- $10 million for international efforts addressing greenhouse gas reduction technologies, energy efficiency, international standards, and energy security for continuing dialogue to include western nations, and countries with emerging economies. Within the International Renewable Energy Program account, no more than $2 million may be spent on the Asia-Pacific Initiative.
There are 127 earmarks in energy efficiency and renewable energy, most in the $500K-$1.5 million range; 15 electricity delivery earmarks; 13 fossil energy research earmarks, including $1.45 million to the Coal Fuel Alliance in Kentucky and $1.5 million to the Stripper Well Consortium in Pennsylvania, and $2 million for carbon sequestration studies; 89 science earmarks, many unrelated to energy or water (a lot of hospitals).
- 1 PM: Debate begins on the earmarks. Rothman withdraws an earmark to North Bergen, New Jersey.
- 1:01 PM: Visclosky is talking about the earmark projects.
- 1:05 PM: Flake calls to remove a $1 million earmark on his district for the Achieving a College Education (ACE) program at Maricopa Community Colleges in the DOE Office of the Administrator’s budget.
- 1:09 PM: Ed Pastor defends the earmark.
- 1:15 PM: The earmark stands by a voice vote.
- 1:16 PM Flake calls to remove a $1 million earmark for the Nanosystems Initiative at the University of Rochester.
- 1:20 PM: The earmark stands by a voice vote.
- 1:22 PM: Flake calls to remove a $1 million earmark for the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructures in Pennsylvania, which according to the certification letter, appears to be a pass-through to Concurrent Technologies Corporation, which has received many earmarks in previous years. Does the center exist?
- Visclosky At this time I do not know. If the center does not exist, it will not receive the money.
- 1:27 PM: The earmark stands; Flake calls for a recorded vote.
- 1:34 PM Hensarling (R-TX 5) calls to remove a $10.5 million earmark to the South Carolina HBCU Math and Science Initiative.
- 1:40 PM James Clyburn (D-SC 6, majority whip) defends the earmark.
- 1:45 PM The earmark stands; Hensarling calls for a recorded vote.
- 1:46 PM Hensarling calls to remove a $1 million earmark for the University of Dubuque Environmental Science Center. He talks about a letter from a disabled grandmother raising three children who can’t go to church because gas costs too much.
- 1:51 PM The earmark stands by a voice vote.
- 1:52 PM Hensarling calls to remove a $500,000 earmark for the Emmanuel College Center for Science Partnership. "Where does the madness stop?" "Shall we subsidize Girl Scout cookies?"
- 1:57 PM Capuano (D-MA 8) defends the earmark; it’s a private university in a private partnership with Merck.
- 1:58 PM Hensarling: Taxes are bad.
- 1:59 PM Capuano I don’t like paying taxes unless we use for wise purposes. If we’re so concerned with taxes, then why are we still in Iraq? All we’d have to do is shut down in Iraq for less than 30 seconds."
- 2:00 PM The earmark stands; Hensarling calls for a recorded vote.
- 3:36 PM The earmark votes have been taken; all earmarks remain. The final bill is being presented for its passage.
- 3:57 PM HR 2641 passes 312-112.