Senators Press Opposition to Research Cuts in Energy Budget Hearing

Mar 23, 2018

The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee met this week to examine the President’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget request for the Department of Energy (DOE).  As reported in the February 16th edition of Capitol Update, the administration’s request would pare DOE’s budget down to $30.6 billion, a $4.2 billion cut from 2017 levels. Many cuts are targeted to DOE applied energy research programs, including a $1.4 billion cut the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and elimination of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), a $306 million budget reduction.

In her opening statement, Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) called out proposed cuts to energy and science programs and elimination of ARPA-E. “While we should always be looking for places to cut the budget, we should also recognize that innovation is critical to our nation’s energy future – it creates jobs, it boosts growth, it adds to our security, and it increases our competitiveness. We need to focus on maintain our global leadership in science, research, and development. Central to that mission are the hardworking scientists and engineers at our national laboratories and universities.”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) echoed concerns about energy and science program cuts, warning that cuts to DOE’s applied energy programs would undermine technology development for technologies like carbon capture utilization and storage and advanced nuclear energy.

The administration’s proposal would provide the DOE Office of Science with flat funding, and cut EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) by 71 percent (to $75 million), and eliminate the DOE’s Critical Materials Hub, Clean Water Hub, five Manufacturing USA institutes, and its network of Industrial Assessment Centers. 

Secretary Perry emphasized that congressional priorities would be supported in an effective way, and praised the department’s work on energy technology innovation and basic science discovery.

View a webcast of the hearing at: https://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings-and-business-meetings?ID=61B9265B-578C-4DAC-BDFD-23DAE9F6CD9F

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