Shaheen Secures New Hampshire Priorities in Bipartisan Funding Bills

July 24, 2017

**Member of Senate Appropriations Committee secures critical investments in New Hampshire farmers, seaports, low-income families and rural communities**

**Provides funding for infrastructure, agriculture, energy efficiency and economic development programs eliminated by Trump administration budget proposal**

(Washington, DC)—U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has secured critical funding for key New Hampshire priorities in a bipartisan funding bill the committee approved last week, including important energy and rural development programs slated for elimination by the Trump administration’s proposed budget.

“I’m pleased these bipartisan bills prioritize New Hampshire needs by making smart investments in our farmers, our infrastructure and our economy,” said Senator Shaheen.  “Unfortunately, the Trump administration budget proposal seeks to eliminate funding for important programs that directly affect our state.  This is wrong and shortsighted.  Going forward, as Congress writes federal funding legislation, I will continue to work to ensure that New Hampshire’s interests are protected.”

Granite State priorities included by Senator Shaheen in the Fiscal Year 2018 Energy & Water and Agriculture Appropriations bills:

Support for New Hampshire dairy farmers

  • In response to the alarming closure of many New Hampshire dairy farms in recent years, Shaheen included substantial reforms to the Department of Agriculture’s Margin Protection Program, a federal program intended to be a safety net for farmers facing falling milk prices and rising production costs.  The reforms to the program include a sharp reduction in the cost of insurance premiums paid by smaller dairy farms, as well as changes to the payment formula which will allow the program to be more responsive to fluctuating market conditions.

Army Corps of Engineers support for New Hampshire infrastructure

  • Includes language stressing the importance of Army Corps of Engineers funding for dredging and infrastructure projects at mid-sized American ports, like the Portsmouth Harbor and Piscataqua ‎River Navigation Improvement Project.  The bills add more than $1 billion to the Trump administration’s budget for investments in critical Army Corp maintenance and construction projects across the country.

Restores funding for low-income and state energy efficiency programs

  • Includes $215 million for the Energy Department’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) to help lower the cost of energy for low-income families by making energy efficiency modifications to their homes.  The bill includes $50 million for the State Energy Program (SEP) that provides grants to states for a variety of energy security and energy efficiency initiatives.  The bill also includes Shaheen’s language directing the Energy Department to issue WAP and SEP awards to states in full no later than 60 days after funds are made available, preventing any undue delay of services to low-income households or state-led energy projects. The Trump administration’s proposed budget eliminated funding for both programs.

Assistance for New Hampshire maple syrup producers

  • Includes $3 million for the Acer Access and Development Program to help maple syrup producers increase production, strengthen conservation efforts and compete in the global maple syrup economy.  In 2014, the United States produced more than 3.2 million gallons of syrup, worth approximately $75-$100 million.  Maple sugaring provides income to an estimated 10,000 maple producers across the country.  The Trump administration did not include funding for the program in its budget.

Restores funding for the Northern Border Regional Commission

  • Includes $15 million for the Northern Border Regional Commission—a $5 million increase over the previous year.  The commission provides economic development assistance to Coos, Grafton, Carroll and Sullivan counties, rural communities impacted by forest product plant closures, and other economically distressed areas of the Northeast.  The Trump administration’s proposed budget eliminated funding for this key partner to rural communities.

Encourages public participation at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

  • Includes Shaheen’s language that encourages FERC to prioritize public engagement and coordination as it reviews and permits energy infrastructure projects, like natural gas pipelines. This appropriations language supports Shaheen’s legislation, the Public Engagement at FERC Act, which would ensure the public has a strong role in shaping the nation’s energy future.