WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) today voted to advance legislation funding agriculture, conservation and nutrition programs, and energy development, research and water infrastructure priorities. Both bills were approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and can now be considered by the full Senate. Following markup of the legislation, Senator Capito issued this statement:
“I was proud to support passage of both of these important measures, which include a number of significant priorities for West Virginia. From food safety and school meal and nutrition programs to encouraging rural broadband deployment, the FY18 Agriculture Appropriations bill will help keep our most vulnerable children healthy and close the digital divide across our state.
“The FY18 Energy and Water Development bill will help support fossil energy research, which impacts the work of the National Energy Technology Lab (NETL) in Morgantown, and provide funding to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for sites such as the Bluestone Dam. The bill also provides critical funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission. The commission has been critical to promoting economic diversity, worker retraining and broadband expansion in rural areas of our state. It can also play an important role in coordinating and supporting efforts to develop an ethane storage hub in central Appalachia — a project this bill helps encourage by calling for a feasibility study on its establishment.”
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Bill Highlights:
- Agriculture Research – The bill provides $2.55 billion in funding to help institutions of higher learning. Senator Capito recently announced recent research grants for West Virginia University and West Virginia State University on agriculture research which are made possible through this funding.
- Safe and Drinkable Water – The legislation will help support community partnerships and programs of the West Virginia Rural Water Association, such as the Grassroots Source Water Protection program, Wastewater Disposal Technical Assistance, Water and Waste Water Disposal grants, and Circuit Riders. All of these programs help provide West Virginians with safe and drinkable water.
- Opioid Funding – The bill provides necessary funds through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to assist in combating the opioid epidemic devastating many West Virginia families and communities.
- Broadband Expansion - $30 million in grants will help efforts like the Capito Connect plan, which focuses on connecting rural areas in unserved and underserved areas.
Energy and Water Development Bill Highlights:
- Fossil Energy Research and Development – $573 million, $293 million above the president’s request, for technologies to advance coal, natural gas, oil and other fossil energy resources, as well as language preventing NETL facilities from closing or contracting.
- Energy Infrastructure – Language encouraging the conclusion of a study by the Department of Energy (DOE) examining the feasibility of an ethane storage hug in central Appalachia.
- Army Corps of Engineers – $6.2 billion, $1.2 billion above the president’s budget request.
- Appalachian Regional Commission – $142 million for the ARC, which the president’s budget proposed eliminating.
- Science Research – $5.55 billion for the DOE Office of Science, the highest ever, to support basic science and energy research and spur innovation through partnerships such as those at West Virginia University and other institutions.
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