Appropriations Committee Passes Energy & Water Funding Bill, Includes Major Wins for Maine Championed by Senator Collins

Following advocacy of Senator Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, FY2020 funding bill includes key funding for UMaine’s offshore wind program, the Weatherization Assistance Program, and the Northern Border Regional Commission

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, announced today that the full committee advanced the fiscal year (FY) 2020 energy and water funding bill by a vote of 31-0.  The legislation includes provisions championed by Senator Collins to support important energy programs in Maine, such as the University of Maine’s (UMaine) offshore wind program, the Weatherization Assistance Program, and the Northern Border Regional Commission.  The legislation now heads to the Senate floor for consideration.

 

“This legislation contains significant investments that will support Maine’s economy and research institutions, as well as help vulnerable Mainers lower their energy costs and keep warm during the winter months,” said Senator Collins.  “As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I fought to include these provisions, and I am pleased that they were incorporated in the final package.”

 

The FY 2020 energy and water funding bill provides $48.86 billion, an increase of approximately $4 billion above the FY 2019 enacted level.  Provisions championed by Senator Collins to benefit Maine include:

 

UMaine research programs:

 

·         Wind Energy: The bill includes a total of $100 million for wind energy, including $50 million specifically directed for offshore wind. This funding includes $10 million to support the offshore wind demonstration projects, which includes UMaine’s Aqua Ventus project to develop floating, deepwater offshore wind turbines.  Click HERE to learn more.

 

·         Advanced Manufacturing: The bill includes $20 million to be directed to the Advanced Manufacturing Office for the development of additive manufacturing involving nano-cellulose feedstock materials made from forest products, which will support important work on bio-based composites being conducted by UMaine and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  In May, Senators Collins, Angus King (I-ME), and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced the launch of this large-scale bio-based additive manufacturing program

 

·         High-Rise Mass Timber Building Systems: The bill includes $5 million for novel, earlier stage research, development, and demonstration related to Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), which can be used for the construction of tall wood buildings.

 

Additional provisions:

 

·         Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP): The bill includes $300 million—an increase of $46 million above the FY2019 enacted level—for WAP.  Click HERE to learn more.

 

·         Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC): The bill includes $25 million for NBRC, an increase of $5 million above the FY2019 enacted level. The bill also includes $500,000 for the State Capacity Grant Program, which was included in the NBRC reauthorization championed by Senator Collins in the 2018 Farm Bill.  In 2019, NBRC has awarded more than $6 million to projects in Maine.  Click HERE to learn more.

 

·         Wood Heaters: The bill includes $5 million for the development and testing of low emission, high efficiency, and residential wood heaters.

 

·         Island and Remote Community Energy Transition: The bill includes $2.5 million for the Office of Strategic Programs’ Energy Transition Initiative to support the efforts to share information, tools, and best practices to help island and remote communities grappling with high energy costs, reliability, and inadequate infrastructure.

 

·         Small, Remote, or Subsistence Navigation: The bill includes $54 million for small, remote, or subsistence navigation.

 

·         U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperative: The bill includes $2 million for U.S. Binational Industrial R&D Foundation (BIRD) and $4 million for the U.S.-Israel Centers of Excellence.  In April, Senators Collins and Kirsten Gillibrand led a bipartisan group of 22 Senators in sending a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee in support of these important programs.