Hearings and Business Meetings

SD-366 Energy Committee Hearing Room 09:30 AM

Senator Pete V. Domenici

Good morning.  I want to welcome Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman to the Committee this morning.  I am pleased you are here to discuss the President’s FY 2006 budget request for the programs of the Department of Energy.

I welcome my Ranking Member, Senator Bingaman, and the members of the committee to today’s hearing.  

Secretary Bodman, I commend you for choosing this most exciting – and challenging – time to be in charge of the Administration’s energy programs.  Last week, the core of the President’s State of the Union address was several comprehensive new programs to break America’s dependence on foreign oil and build America’s competitive edge, and DOE is the focal point for these initiatives. 

First, I would like to commend the President for setting forth a comprehensive global nuclear strategy that promotes nuclear nonproliferation goals while helping to resolve nuclear waste issues.

In the 1970s, the United States decided to abandon its leadership on nuclear recycling and let the rest of the world pass us by. With the creation of the Global Nuclear Energy Program, we’re getting back in the game.

With the energy bill, we created a new future for advanced nuclear power in this country and now 19 new reactors are under discussion. With GNEP, we begin to close the cycle on nuclear waste in ways that prevent proliferation and reduce both the volume and toxicity of waste.

Research on recycling technologies that will make GNEP a reality are exciting, and are close to fruition.  However, we must not lose sight of the fact that, although the waste from this process will be smaller in volume and less toxic, it will still be destined for a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain. I look forward to working with you on legislation to ensure that this vital part of the GNEP program stays on track. 

In the State of the Union, the President also announced the American Competitiveness Initiative and the Advanced Energy Initiative.

The ACI commits $5.9 billion in FY2007, and more than $137 billion over 10 years to programs that help America retain its leading edge in science, math and technology. The ACI will increase investments in research and development, education, and tax incentives to encourage innovation.

I am particularly impressed that, after years of flat funding, the Administration proposes to double funding over the next decade for DOE’s Office of Science.

Finally, last but not least, the President also announced The Advanced Energy Initiative, which aims to reduce America’s dependence on imported energy sources and commits $2.1 billion to meet that goal, an increase of $381 million over FY 2006.

The President recognizes that research and innovation are America’s best answer to the voracious global appetite for carbon fuels. Our economy in the coming years will reap the harvest President Bush is sowing today with this push to develop more energy from nuclear power, wind, the sun and our own field crops. 

While I applaud this new emphasis on these longer-term programs, in the interim, we must take advantage of energy sources that are immediately available.  Energy sources such as Lease Sale 181, oil shale, and clean coal technologies must be pursued.   

Thus, I am disappointed that the Budget proposes a cut in the Clean Coal Power Initiative from $49.5 million this year to $5 million in 2007.  The United States has a 250-year supply of coal. Perfecting the technology to burn coal without hurting the environment is critical to our economy and our global competitiveness. I question the wisdom of short-changing that program at this critical point.

Another area of concern is that in the Energy Policy Act, we provided incentives, in the form of loan guarantees, for all new, clean energy technologies.  While American businesses stand ready to develop new innovative sources of energy under this program, progress is stalled by delay in providing guidelines for applications.  I strongly urge you to make getting this program up and running a priority.

Finally, I would like to note that OMB has reassessed anticipated receipts from oil development in the Arctic to reflect recent oil prices. The new score of $8 billion in total receipts, with $4 billion for federal coffers, is a 60 percent increase over last year’s total of $5 billion, with $2.5 billion for the federal government.

I plan to work with Senate leadership to include ANWR receipts in the ‘07 Budget Resolution.

I would like to reemphasize how pleased I am that the President has focused this Nation’s attention and resources on the importance of energy research to our Nation’s long-term economic and national security. 

I am very pleased to welcome you today, Secretary Bodman.  You will have the responsibility for implementing the lion’s share of these proposals, and I look forward to working with you to ensure their success in weaning America from foreign oil, and continuing our Nation’s strong economic growth.
  
 I know we are anxious to hear your testimony and will have questions for you, Mr. Secretary.

 I would ask you to summarize your testimony in 10 minutes, and ask unanimous consent to place your full written statement in the record.
 
 I would ask my colleagues to keep any opening comments brief so we can get to the questions and answers portion of the hearing.

 I now recognize my good friend and Ranking Member, Senator Bingaman, for any opening statement he might wish.  Then I will rotate back and forth to members based upon the order in which they arrived today.  It would be helpful if you could summarize your statements and submit them for the record as Secretary Bodman has another commitment at noon, so we would like to accommodate him by concluding by 11:45.  We want to leave plenty of time for questions.

Thank you.  Senator Bingaman, please proceed.