Legislative Update: House Approves Five-Year Reauthorization, FY 2008 Funding Legislation for ARC
On July 16, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a five-year reauthorization for ARC with the passage of bill H.R. 799. The reauthorization continues all of ARC's existing programs and contains a new "economic and energy development" authority for work in energy efficiency, renewables, and conventional energy sources. It also calls for the designation of economically "at-risk" counties in the Appalachian Region and permits ARC to fund up to 70 percent of the cost of projects in at-risk counties. In addition, the measure adds 13 counties to the Region: four in Ohio, four in Tennessee, three in Kentucky, and two in Virginia.
The bill provides funding authorization of $65 million for fiscal year (FY) 2007; $80 million for FY 2008; $85 million for FY 2009; $90 million for FY 2010; and $95 million for FY 2011. The energy authority's funding authorization is an additional $12 million per year. A provision in the legislation requires any earmarks to come out of the funding allocation of the Appalachian state that receives the earmark.
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works reported its version of the reauthorization legislation this spring. The full Senate must now consider the measure.
In other legislative matters, the House of Representatives approved its FY 2008 energy and water development appropriations bill on July 17; the bill provides $35 million in funding for ARC's nonhighway program. The Senate is not expected to take up its version of the appropriations legislation, which provides $75 million, until September.