Hatch fights for Utah water and military priorities in spending bill

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the senior Republican and President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, released the following statement regarding passage of the minibus package:

“Today, the Senate took an important step in exercising its authority to set the spending priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. Instead of allowing the government to run on autopilot with no ability to control or prioritize federal funding, the Senate clearly set forth its priorities. Our water infrastructure, our “all of the above” energy foundation, and our veterans deserve to have cost-efficient, predictable, effective programs to carry out our national interests. I am grateful to the thousands of Utahns who wrote me, provided expert input and guided me to lead on Utah priorities. I look forward to making sure their voices are heard as we work with the House to send one bill to the President to sign into law.

Background:

The appropriations bill funds Energy and Water Development, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and the Legislative Branch, providing discretionary funding for FY 2019.  After receiving hundreds of comments and direct input from constituents, Senator Hatch has participated throughout the process to ensure Utah priorities are reflected, ashighlighted below.

Energy and Water Development

  • Funds Department of Energy Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy FORGE project. University of Utah researchers are leading the national project, and will bring jobs to southwest Utah (Beaver County)
  • Supports significant research in energy efficiency and renewable energy including Utah projects in solar energy, building technologies, and wind energy
  • Encourages the advancement of alternative uses of coal research
  • Meets the request of Moab and Grand County to accelerate the disposal of uranium mine tailings along the Colorado River for the first time since the clean-up began
  • Funds the Central Utah Water Project at highest level in over a decade
  • Advocates for continued receipts transfer to the Upper Colorado Basin Fund, supporting Glen Canyon and Flaming Gorge recreation and fishing
  • Includes funds to help low-income households make improvements (weatherization) to save on energy costs

Military Construction/Veterans

  • Significantly increases the investment in Veteran’s Caregivers program
  • Funds healthcare for veterans, including funds for opioid treatment and misuse prevention, medical and prosthetic research, and rural healthcare initiatives
  • Increases funding for military construction while requiring use of innovations to reduce maintenance and operating costs of facilities