Bacon on the grill: Simpson, Crapo, Risch cook up good news for Idaho Nat’l Lab

Idaho Republican Congressman Mike Simpson helped deliver $24 million more for the Idaho National Lab than the Obama administration sought in the big spending bill passed Wednesday in the House.

Thursday brought more good news for the engine of the Eastern Idaho economy from GOP Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch: the Senate’s top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a key appropriator is coming for an INL look-see.

Simpson also landed $22 million for clean-up at the site near Idaho Falls, a detail noted by Reuters reporter Andy Sullivan in his story about how lawmakers aim spending at home despite a ban on earmarks and make hay with their success during this campaign year.

Simpson, one of 12 subcommittee chairmen on the House Appropriations Committee, has never shied from touting his efforts to boost federal spending in Idaho.

Simpson’s spokesman, Nikki Watts, explained to Reuters just how the real world works: “The Idaho National Laboratory is a federally owned, federally funded national laboratory dedicated to energy research and national security, so of course it received funding.”

Crapo and Risch announced that Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski will visit INL March 21.

Said the Idaho pair in a news release: “This committee is the key Senate committee with oversight and legislative responsibilities for nuclear fuels research and development. Murkowski is also a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittees relating to energy and water, homeland security and military construction.”

Said Crapo: “The long-term operations at the INL will always depend on support from the White House and Congress, but we have the expertise, experience and track record at the site that guarantees long-term success when these stories are told.”

Said Risch: “Idaho’s history as a world leader in nuclear energy and the INL’s position as the nation’s preeminent nuclear energy research lab make us a unique player in the energy sector. I am pleased to share all that Idaho and the INL has to offer with my colleague from Alaska.”

Risch and Simpson are campaigning for re-election this year. Crapo says he plans to run in 2016.

The senators’ news release follows:

CRAPO, RISCH WELCOME MURKOWSKI FOR INL VISIT

Key Member on Energy, Appropriations Committees to tour site March 21

Washington, D.C.  – Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch today announced that the Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will tour the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) on Friday, March 21st.  Murkowski, also a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is coming to the lab at the request of Crapo and Risch.  Murkowski’s visit to the Idaho National Lab site is notable, given her influential role as the Energy Committee’s Ranking Member. This committee is the key Senate committee with oversight and legislative responsibilities for nuclear fuels research and development. Murkowski is also a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittees relating to energy and water, homeland security and military construction.

“The expertise and expanse of scientific research and leadership at the Idaho National Lab is something every member of Congress should have the opportunity to see close up,” noted Crapo.  “Even as we wind down some cleanup activities at the site, new research, military and security missions are being undertaken.  The long-term operations at the INL will always depend on support from the White House and Congress, but we have the expertise, experience and track record at the site that guarantees long-term success when these stories are told.”

“I am looking forward to welcoming Ranking Member Murkowski to the INL,” said Risch. “Idaho’s history as a world leader in nuclear energy and the INL’s position as the nation’s preeminent nuclear energy research lab make us a unique player in the energy sector. I am pleased to share all that Idaho and the INL has to offer with my colleague from Alaska.”

“The national laboratories are a key asset for the Department of Energy and the nation in supporting and advancing energy related technological innovations and cutting-edge science. It’s important that we continue to support the research being conducted at our national laboratories into breakthrough technologies,” said Murkowski.

Crapo and Risch advise that the agenda for Murkowski’s visit is still being determined, but is expected to include tours of facilities deemed vital to U.S. planning regarding homeland security, research and the military.

To directly link to this news release, please use the following address:

http://crapo.senate.gov/media/newsreleases/release_full.cfm?id=349309

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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