Democratic News

DOE’s Implementation of Recovery Act
HEARING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN BINGAMAN
 March 4, 2010
“Thank you all for coming here today to give us your thoughts on the progress the Department has made in implementing the Recovery Act, in the year since it was passed.  This is an important effort -- both to create high quality jobs in the near term and to begin to reverse the course we’ve been on of under-investing in our country’s competitiveness in clean energy technology.  We all certainly feel the urgency to get these programs moving to generate more jobs, and I’m pleased to see there has been some real progress in recent months on that front.  It’s also important that we get these investments right, so I look forward to hearing the testimony today.
“The scale of the investment the Department has been asked to manage here is very substantial.  In many cases, programs were either never funded before, or were funded at a level that is a fraction of what was provided in the Recovery Act.  This was a particular challenge for state and local officials, who faced constrained local budgets, even as they tried to scale up their management of new Federal funds and the reporting and accountability requirements that went with those Federal funds. 
“However, I believe the care the Department and its partners in the States exercise in setting up these programs will pay great dividends over the long term.  The energy infrastructure needs in this country are so substantial that I think we can only regard these investments as an initial down payment.  If we can get the market incentives as they should be and provide some of the initial support that is needed, I believe there are substantial private-sector funds ready to be invested in these areas.
“We’ve heard testimony before this Committee that scale of potential for investment in the energy sector dwarfs previous investments that were made in information and biotechnology.  These are two areas where the has led the world.  If we are to similarly lead in clean energy, and reap the associated benefits in economic and energy security, it will take a sustained commitment and an urgency of purpose to do that.”
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