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Congressional budgetmakers would hold line on Department of Energy research

first_imgHouse appropriators, meanwhile, took aim at DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) program, which funds applied research aimed at developing clean energy technologies. The Obama administration had requested a 40.1% increase in the EERE budget to $2.9 billion. In contrast, House appropriators would cut EERE spending by 12% to $1.8 billion. At the House markup yesterday, Representative Nita Lowey (D–NY), the top Democrat on the full appropriations committee, decried the proposed cut, arguing that clean energy sources are needed to help avoid the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. “We cannot afford to bury our head in the sand on climate change,” she said.In contrast, House appropriators would reverse a proposed cut to DOE’s fossil fuels research program. The Obama administration has proposed reducing such funding by 5% to $600 million and would have used $240 million leftover from prior years to help provide that funding. But the House energy and water subcommittee would boost spending on the fossil fuels program by 2% to $645 million—not including the leftover $240 million. “The bill rejects the budget request’s proposal to reduce investment in the energy we use today,” Representative Mike Simpson (R–ID), chair of the House energy and water subcommittee, said at the subcommittee’s markup. Senate appropriators, meanwhile, would hold fossil fuels spending at the current level of $632 million.Feinstein noted that the Senate bill would cut spending on nuclear nonproliferation by 6.8% to $1.81 billion—as requested by the Obama administration. Feinstein said she agreed with the cut only begrudgingly. “Work with Russia on securing materials and facilities in that country has slowed, but other threats at home and around the world remain,” she said. “We should be investing more and I hope the next administration makes this a higher priority.” Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Scientists supported by the Department of Energy (DOE) likely won’t be happy with Congress’s version of the budget for the agency in fiscal year 2017, which begins 1 October. In February, the Obama administration proposed a 4.2% increase, to $5.572 billion, in the budget of DOE’s basic research wing, the Office of Science—not counting an extra $100 million request dedicated for university research that would not be part of the usual budget process. However, yesterday both the Senate and House of Representatives appropriations subcommittees that oversee DOE released spending plans that would give the Office of Science just a 0.9% increase, to $5.4 billion. Both chambers also rejected the call for the $100 million mandatory spending on university research.Although that increase may seem like small change, it represents a vote of confidence for the Office of Science, Senator Lamar Alexander (R–TN), chair of the Senate energy and water subcommittee, said at the Senate subcommittee markup yesterday. “The top priority is the Office of Science,” Alexander said. “This is the second year that we’ve been able to increase funding for the Office of Science. … This puts us one step closer to doubling funding for federal basic energy research.”Details of both bills have yet to be released. However, for the third year in a row the Senate panel moved to zero out spending on the United States’s contribution to ITER, the massive fusion experiment currently under construction in Cadarache, France, which has been experiencing delays and massive cost overruns. “ITER started out in 2005 with an initial cost of $1.1 billion, but we’ve already spent that much and the project may not be completed until 2025,” Alexander said. Senator Diane Feinstein (D–CA), the top-ranked minority member on the Senate subcommittee, said that the cost to the United States, which has ballooned to at least $4 billion, threatens more than just other DOE research programs. “Continued funding of ITER doesn’t just threaten our investment in domestic science, it also threatens funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, which plays a really important role in maintaining our nation’s infrastructure,” Feinstein said. DOE is due to report to Congress in early May whether it wants to stay in the ITER project.center_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Emaillast_img read more