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Minibus offers uranium money, energy riders

Illustration of the Capitol dome

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

The first funding minibus is out. It's largely what we expected, but uranium money made the package, and there are a few notable riders.

Why it matters: Lawmakers are expected to vote in the coming days on the package to avert a government shutdown.

  • This package ties together the first six fiscal 2024 spending bills — including energy-water and Interior-environment.
  • The energy and water bill provides nearly $58.2 billion in total funding for the Energy Department, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and independent agencies.
  • The Interior-EPA bill provides $41.2 billion.

Driving the news: EPA would get $9.2 billion, a nearly 10 percent cut from fiscal 2023 levels.

  • Interior would get $14.7 billion, while keeping environmental justice programs that the House wanted to gut.
  • Notably, the Interior title includes $2.6 billion in additional funding for wildfires. The bill would also provide additional funds for wildland firefighter pay.
  • The Department of Energy, meanwhile, would be slated for a budget increase to $50.2 billion.
  • The increase largely boosts defense-related spending, but the bill doesn't include the severe cuts to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs proposed by the House.

The bill includes $2.7 billion in reprogrammed infrastructure money for enriched uranium supplies.

  • Lawmakers had been trying to get that into the national security supplemental to help implement the recently passed Nuclear Fuel Security Act.
  • Nuclear energy advocates see that act as an important early step in developing a domestic supply of enriched uranium for advanced fission reactors.

Zoom in: Inside the package are a few riders representing policy wins for both sides of the aisle.

  • It includes language to ban sales from the national strategic petroleum reserve to China.
  • One provision would require the government to conduct analysis of alternatives for the Lava Ridge wind energy project in Idaho.
  • In addition, oil and gas development would be restricted near Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. The administration has sought to restrict such development there.
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