WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Pete Domenici, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a senior member of the Senate Budget Committee, today praised a major commitment to renewable fuel technology included in the FY2008 Senate Budget Resolution.
Domenici and other Budget Committee members today met to put together a resolution that will serve as a blueprint for the federal government’s spending priorities for the next fiscal year. Although concerns with funding priorities in several areas prevented Domenici from supporting the resolution, the Senator indicated that he is pleased with its $1.6 billion commitment to the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) program, an increase of $440 million over FY2006 and $385 million above the President’s budget request.
“The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program is a critical program within DOE where our nation’s work on next generation fuels is put to the test. Increasing our fuel diversity and fuel efficiency is a top priority for me this year, and as it was in the bipartisan Energy Bill when we passed the first-ever renewable fuel standard. While I disagree with parts of the chairman’s mark, and therefore can’t support it, I am pleased that it paves the way for a major funding increase for these programs,” Domenici said.
One of Domenici’s top priorities for the 110th Congress is to work with Chairman Jeff Bingaman to find ways to further development of alternative fuels.
The Senator also praised provisions that support DOE’s Fossil Energy Research and Development program, which is of particular importance to small producers and geologists and helps recover more domestic oil and gas. The Senate Budget Resolution rejects the Bush Administration’s proposed cut for fossil energy research and development, restoring approximately $25 million to the account.
Domenici did express concern that the budget resolution rejected the President’s proposal to permit oil and natural gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The Senator has long advocated environmentally responsible production of oil and natural gas in ANWR.
“Like many others, I am concerned that we depend on imports for 60 percent of our oil. But it is equally concerning to me that at the same time, we are locking up billions of barrels of American resources while relying on foreign, volatile regions. While I am committed to conserving energy, increasing fuel efficiency, and using home-grown biofuels, I also believe we should be producing more domestic oil and gas, both in the Gulf of Mexico and ANWR. I’m disappointed this resolution does not meet this need,” Domenici said.
The Budget Committee approved the resolution Thursday afternoon. It is now ready for debate by the full Senate.