Washington D.C. – The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee today held a hearing to receive testimony and question Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) science and technology priorities represented in the president’s fiscal year 2016 budget request. 

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “America’s energy future is increasingly shaped by federal regulations. Sound science must be the guide, not politics. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the Keystone XL pipeline and Yucca Mountain, where the science has consistently pointed to the safety of the projects, but politics drives endless delays, or sometimes even a veto. Just yesterday, the president vetoed a bipartisan Keystone XL pipeline bill that an overwhelming majority of Americans rightfully support.

“The president’s budget does not call for the most effective or efficient use of taxpayer dollars nor does it support a balanced, all-of-the-above energy strategy. The administration should invest in breakthrough discoveries from basic research that will continue to provide the foundation for private sector development across the energy spectrum. This will create jobs and grow our economy, which is a goal I think we all share.”

The House Science Committee’s jurisdiction includes scientific research, development, and demonstration at DOE. This includes the Office of Science, which conducts critical research in high energy physics, advanced scientific computing, biological and environmental research, nuclear physics, fusion energy sciences, and basic energy sciences, as well as applied energy research and development in fossil, nuclear and renewable energy. These areas comprise approximately one-third of the DOE’s budget, or over 10 billion dollars in the president’s fiscal year 2016 proposal. 

DOE is the largest federal supporter of basic research and development and sponsors 47 percent of federal basic research in the physical sciences. The Department’s science and energy research is conducted at over 300 sites nationwide, including our 17 National Labs.  Over 31,000 scientific researchers take advantage of DOE user facilities each year. 

However, Members today questioned the president’s FY 2016 budget proposal, saying it ignores fiscal realities.  The DOE FY 2016 request proposes an overall increase of $2.5 billion, or more than nine percent, and  prioritizes short-term, expensive commercialization activities. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy receives an increase of $809 million, or 42 percent.  In comparison, the budgets for Fossil and Nuclear energy research and development remain stagnant.

For more information on today’s hearing, including witness testimony and a link to the archived webcast, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website