WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Pete Domenici, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and former chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, today issued the following statement regarding President Bush’s FY2009 budget request for the Department of Energy:
“In my judgment, the Administration has correctly outlined the top priorities facing the Department of Energy for the coming year. The Administration is right to emphasize an investment in global climate change technologies, nuclear energy, and competitiveness in its budget.
“I am particularly pleased that the budget request reflects the agreements reached in the FY2008 Omnibus Appropriations Act on loan guarantees. By extending the date authorized to issue loan guarantees to 2010 for non-nuclear projects and 2011 for nuclear power, we will ensure that the $38.5 billion available will be fully utilized.
“I’m also encouraged by the Department’s continued support for nuclear energy. The Administration seeks to increase funding for nuclear energy, science, and technology by 37 percent to 1.42 billion for FY2008. The NP2010 initiative, which will play an important role in supporting the licensing of new nuclear plants, is increased by 80 percent. There is no question that the nuclear renaissance has begun, but as we seek to address our global climate challenges, we must continue to invest in the promise of nuclear power, which this budget request acknowledges.
“While I support the substantial increase for the Office of Science ($748 million increase to $4.7 billion), I do plan on questioning the Department about how it plans to integrate the America COMPETES Act within this budget. I had hoped to see specific components of the COMPETES Act more fully funded in this budget request, but many simply are not mentioned. I certainly hope that the Department plans on carrying out the initiatives of this bipartisan law.
“I also will see to restore funding for the DOE Weatherization Assistance program, which is terminated in the budget request. This important program provides vital assistance to those seeking more energy efficient homes, which will help bring down energy costs.
“I look forward to the opportunity to discuss this budget request with Secretary Bodman and the committee at Wednesday’s hearing.”