USW Nuclear Cleanup Sites Projected to Get Funding for 2020 Fiscal Year

House Energy and Water Appropriations Committee staffers told the USW’s Atomic Energy Workers Council (AEWC) at the group’s biannual meeting in Washington, D.C., that they are confident the Department of Energy (DOE) cleanup sites will continue to receive the same or more funding for 2020 than what they obtained for fiscal 2019.

Jaime Shimek and Farouk Ophaso, staffers with the House Energy & Water Appropriations Committee. Photo credit: Mike Hancock, USW Local 9-562 retiree

The Environmental Management (EM) funding for fiscal year 2019 was the highest level the office had received in more than a decade. Congress appropriated $7.2 billion to clean up 16 Cold War and Manhattan Projects sites that fiscal year.

The appropriations for the DOE sites are essential to keeping USW members working on environmental remediation, without fear of contractors laying them off for lack of government money.

Funding for DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) will likely remain the same in fiscal year 2020 at the 2019 level, the staffers said at the Oct. 31 meeting. This includes the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), the Hanford Nuclear Reservation (Hanford) and Idaho National Laboratory (INL), which will all likely receive funding at the fiscal 2019 levels.

Final funding is dependent on the Senate passing its appropriations bill, as well as the House and Senate reconciling their respective versions of the funding packages.

Compromise needed?

While the Senate Appropriations Committee reported out the Energy & Water bill, it still is waiting for a floor vote, as of this writing. On Thur., Oct. 31, a motion was made to begin debate on a minibus bill that included DOE funding, but several significant roadblocks remained.

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