US Energy Department's budget cut request feedback

Republicans on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee oppose efforts to increase renewable energy spending and cut oil and gas research in its fiscal 2012 budget request.


US Energy Secretary Steven Chu faced pushback from Republicans on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee over the Obama administration's efforts to ramp up renewable energy spending and cut oil and gas research in its fiscal 2012 budget request.

The committee's senior Republican, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, said the 12% spending increase for the Department of Energy would be inappropriate under the current deficit spending concerns.

In the spirit of Obama's pledge to boost funding for "clean energy" initiatives, the budget request provides an overall boost to DOE, increasing its budget 12% over 2010 levels to $29.5 billion. It was sent to Congress Monday. Much of the increase will reportedly go to renewable energy research and development, but the fossil-energy office will see cuts to oil and gas research, but will still receive $453 million, primarily for carbon capture and storage technologies.

DOE was allegedly one of only several departments -- including Education, Treasury and Defense -- to get a bump-up in spending.

The hearing on the fiscal 2012 budget request comes as the House of Representatives considers a stopgap spending measure to fund the federal government from March 4th until the end of the 2011 fiscal year on September 30. Congress never passed a 2011 appropriations bill and is reportedly operating under a continuing resolution currently that funds the government at 2010 levels.

- Edited by Amanda McLeman, Consulting-Specifying Engineer,

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