Democratic News

Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) strongly supports the increases proposed for Department of Energy (DOE) programs in the President’s Budget Request for FY 2013 today, which are being proposed against a backdrop of substantial deficit reduction government-wide in the same Budget Request.


Bingaman is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which has principal responsibility for the DOE.  Bingaman will call the Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, to testify on DOE’s budget before the Committee on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 9:30 a.m. in Room 366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.   This will be the DOE’s first budget hearing before Congress this year.


“This Budget Request continues what have been key priorities for President Obama --  a commitment to energy security, to U.S. technological competitiveness in the energy markets of the future and to leading the effort on global nuclear nonproliferation, despite the tough fiscal environment we find ourselves in,” Bingaman stated.  “This Budget Request deserves the strong support of anyone who cares deeply about securing our nation’s energy future, boosting our economic growth and global competitiveness and addressing the worldwide threats posed by dangerous nuclear and radiological materials.”


The President’s Budget Request would increase total DOE spending by 3.2 percent over the level appropriated for FY 2012, to a total of $27.2 billion.  Of this total, $11.5 billion would be budgeted to the nuclear weapons and nonproliferation missions of the Department, another $5.8 billion would be devoted to environmental cleanup and radioactive waste management, $5.3 billion would go to basic science and the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), and $3.9 billion would go to energy supply and energy efficiency programs.


“This budget highlights the choice facing Congress about our clean energy future,” Bingaman added.  “The President’s vision is to support the groundbreaking research that will ensure that America leads in making the clean energy technologies of tomorrow a reality, giving consumers new cost-saving energy choices and keeping our energy-related manufacturing base strong.  Within this budget, he has heeded the analysis from the Quadrennial Technology Review of energy and made tough choices to wind down work in some mature areas, in order to have increased resources for new frontier research.


“That is what having a national energy policy means.  It is about making thoughtful and forward-leaning choices, and I strongly support Secretary Chu’s efforts to keep us at the frontiers of innovation.”


Highlights of increased investments in the 2013 Budget Request for DOE include:


  • A $127 million increase in funding for the DOE Office of Science.  This funding will position the United States in the lead for the next-generation of high-performance supercomputing and provide significant increases to help understand the basic physical phenomena that will underpin new energy technologies.


  • A strong follow-through on the promise of ARPA-E, with $350 million of new funding proposed for transformational, high-risk, high-payoff energy technology projects.  This funding will build on the $450 million already provided to ARPA-E over the last two fiscal years.


  • Major increases in technology funding for advanced energy-efficient manufacturing (up 150 percent), geothermal energy (up 72 percent), and biomass energy (up 58 percent), to complement strong increases seen in recent years in solar and wind energy.


  • Funding for a new Electricity Systems Innovation Hub, which will address the critical issues and barriers associated with the modernization of the electric grid.


Finally, although the defense programs of the DOE are annually authorized through the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the new DOE budget request is notable for continuing the emphasis of previous requests by President Obama for nuclear nonproliferation efforts, with a $163 million budget increase in these efforts requested.


“It is hard to think of a greater global security threat than nuclear proliferation,” Bingaman said.   “President Obama has given a high priority to increasing research and development on the nonproliferation and verification challenges we face.  His request for additional funds in this area deserves broad support.”

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