ALBUQUERQUE – U.S. Senator Pete Domenici today said he was largely satisfied with the Department of Energy’s FY2007 spending plan, citing significant increases in research and development for alternative fuels and renewable energy which build on his work in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Domenici, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, expressed satisfaction with the Department’s decision to provide $1.5 billion for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and $2 billion for clean coal technologies, including carbon sequestration research.
While the Senator was pleased with funding levels for long range nuclear programs like the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership and NP2010, he did express concern about the lack of commitment to science in the NNSA’s budget, as evidenced by cuts to key programs.
“Overall, I’m pleased with the Department of Energy’s FY2007 spending plan. In the joint resolution passed by Congress to fund the government, we gave the Department clear direction that the development of new energy sources and alternative fuels should be their priority. That direction was followed in this spending plan, which is important given our need to reduce dependence on foreign oil and control greenhouse gas emissions. While I am concerned about cuts to certain science related programs, I think that this plan meets many of our nation’s top energy priorities,” said Domenici, who is also a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
In the area of energy supply and conservation, Domenici highlighted major increases for research and development for biomass, solar and wind energy, which will nearly double overall. He also praised a $358 million increase for the Office of Environmental Management, which cleans up Cold War-era nuclear facilities.
The Senator also singled out full funding ($80.3 million) for the Office of Nuclear Energy’s NP2010 program. NP2010 is a joint government/industry cost sharing effort to identify sites for new nuclear plants, development and bring to market advanced nuclear plant technologies, and demonstrate untested regulatory processes.
Among the cuts that concerned Domenici was a $59 million cut for the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) project at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The CMRR project aims to consolidate many major LANL programs in a single, safer facility which will allow the lab to continue to maintain and certify the U.S. nuclear stockpile.