Committee Print – Department of Energy programs
Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 10:00am
2318 Rayburn House Office Building
Opening Statement By Chairman Brian Baird
Good Morning. I want to welcome everyone to today’s Energy & Environment Subcommittee Markup. This is the first of three Subcommittee markups leading to the Full Committee’s consideration of the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act.
Today we have before us a Committee Print comprised of three titles. The intention is for these three titles to make up the bulk of the Department of Energy’s research programs in COMPETES.
Title I is a comprehensive authorization of the Department’s Office of Science. This is the language from H.R. 4905, a bill that I introduced with my colleague from Illinois and a long-time champion of the Office of Science and the National Laboratories, Ms. Judy Biggert.
The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, with a current budget of roughly $5 billion. It is one of three agencies that the America COMPETES Act set on a doubling path following on the recommendations of the National Academies report, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm.”
It has a diverse portfolio of advanced R&D facilities, including everything from supercomputers to x-ray light sources, Last year, these facilities were used by more than 22,000 researchers from universities, national laboratories, private industry, and other federal science agencies - enabling our nation’s best and brightest to examine new materials for a wide range of industrial and energy research applications.
If adopted, it will provide the first comprehensive authorization of the Office of Science, and will keep it on the funding path set forth in the first COMPETES Act.
Title II of the Print is a reauthorization of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, or ARPA-E, which mirrors the language from H.R. 4906 introduced by Chairman Gordon. In addition to extending the authorizations, Mr. Gordon makes a handful of important additions to the underlying statute to further ensure it remains the independent and agile program it was intended to be.
ARPA-E received its first appropriation last year and, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Majumdar and his all-star staff, the program hit the ground running and funded over 37 energy research projects. We expect to see great things from this program.
Title III follows H.R. 4907, introduced by Mr. Carnahan, Ms. Giffords, and Mr. Tonko, in authorizing the new Energy Innovation Hubs as proposed by Energy Secretary Chu in 2009. Modeled largely after Bell Laboratories and the Bioenergy Research Centers, the Hubs are intended to foster a highly collaborative working environment that brings together many fields of expertise to overcome scientific barriers to our nation’s most critical energy challenges.
Spanning the full gamut from the most basic research all the way to commercial applications, these three programs represent the forefront of our nation’s effort to lead the world in the development and production of technologies for a clean energy economy.
I understand my colleagues have a number of amendments, and I look forward to a healthy discussion as we move forward with this legislation.
With that I will turn it over to my colleague from South Carolina, Mr. Inglis, for his opening statement.