Appropriators in the House of Representatives said Monday they see no reason to transfer the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the Department of Energy.
“The Committee is pleased with the current cooperation between the Corps and the Department in carrying out the program and expects the Department to continue to provide its institutional knowledge and expertise to ensure the success of this program and to serve the nation and the affected communities,” according to the full report for the House Appropriations energy and water development bill for fiscal 2020, which is scheduled to be marked up in committee this morning.
The bill would provide $155 million for the nuclear cleanup program in the budget year beginning Oct. 1, $5 million above the current funding level and $14 million more than the White House requested.
In its latest spending plan, the Trump administration said it would transfer the program from the Army Corps to the Energy Department’s Office of Legacy Management. That would reverse Congress’ shift of FUSRAP to the Army Corps 21 years ago.
The program manages environmental remediation of properties that were radioactively contaminated from the 1940s to 1960s by nuclear-weapon and energy operations of the Manhattan Engineer District and Atomic Energy Commission.
Today, Legacy Management still determines which properties are eligible for inclusion in FUSRAP and conducts long-term surveillance and maintenance once remediation is complete. But the Army Corps oversees the actual cleanup.
“The Congress intentionally transferred FUSRAP from the Department to the Corps in fiscal year 1998,” the bill report says. “In appropriating FUSRAP funds to the Corps, the Committee intended to transfer only the responsibility for administration and execution of cleanup activities at FUSRAP sites where the Department had not completed cleanup. The Committee did not transfer to the Corps ownership of and accountability.”