CONGRESSMAN BISHOP STATEMENT REGARDING PASSAGE OF FY 2015 ENERGY AND WATER APPROPRIATIONS BILL
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Member of the House Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after voting in favor of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations government spending bill. The measure was approved by a vote of 253 to 170 and now goes on to the Senate for consideration.
“This bill prioritizes funding for national nuclear security, finances environmental cleanup activities, supports energy research, and funds the Army Corps of Engineers, positively affecting public safety, job creation, and the economy,” said Congressman Bishop. “Locally, provisions in the bill support various construction efforts in Georgia including the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, strengthen industries reliant on imports and exports, and provide common-sense solutions to potential issues with the conservation of energy in rural Georgia.”
Passage of the FY 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations Act clears all final hurdles presented in the House of Representatives that could stop construction on the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP). The bill approves a total of $1,520,000 for construction on SHEP as well as $80,000 and $850,000 for additional projects in the Lower Savannah River Basin and the Richard Russell Dam respectively.
Additionally, the bill’s accompanying report includes language affecting the efficiency standards of water heaters. The issue addressed a concern that a Department of Energy proposed change to large-capacity water heater efficiency standards would endanger the long-term sustainability of more than 250 voluntary demand response programs in 34 states. Voluntary demand response programs use large electric resistance water heaters that allow electric cooperatives to reduce demand for electricity during peak hours by remotely turning them off for short periods with no noticeable impact on water temperatures. These peak periods occur when electricity is produced by the most expensive and least efficient generators. The result reduces energy usage during peak consumption hours; improves the integration of renewable energy resources; and lowers energy costs for consumers. Specific language is included within the committee report directing the Department of Energy to work with stakeholders for the purpose of allowing for the continued manufacture and use of grid-enabled water heaters, potentially negating the endangerment to voluntary demand response programs.
The FY 2015 Defense Appropriations Act totals $34 billion in discretionary funding, which is $327 million above the President’s request. For more information on funding levels and key provisions in the FY 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, please click here.