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House Committee on Energy and Commerce

February 9, 2005 - 10:11am

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Oral Testimony of Secretary Samuel W. Bodman

Chairman Barton, Congressman Dingell and members of the Committee, I am honored to be here today to discuss the President's fiscal year 2006 budget proposals for the Department of Energy. As the members of the committee know, this Department is charged with a broad set of missions that are vital to our nation's defense and our national and economic security. 

The Department of Energy is the steward of our nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, with the responsibility of ensuring that our nuclear deterrent - which was so crucial in winning the Cold War - continues to be viable and effective in today's changing world. This Department also leads America's international nuclear nonproliferation efforts.

Closely related to our nuclear defense mission is the cleanup of sites around the country that have been contaminated through the development of our nuclear capability. We have revamped this massive cleanup process, reducing the timetable by 35 years and the cost by about $50 billion.

The Department of Energy also is the primary federal agency charged with maintaining our country's world leadership in science. Our National Laboratories include some of the most sophisticated science facilities in the world, and their work has led to some of the most important scientific advances of our age.

And the Department also, of course, has the mission of ensuring a stable, reliable, secure, and affordable supply of energy for our nation's growing economy, while doing so in an environmentally responsible way. 

Our energy challenges today are greater than ever before. We face rapid growth in the demand for oil and natural gas at a time when domestic production is hard-pressed to keep up and world energy markets are increasingly characterized by price volatility and political uncertainty. 

Our policy efforts must therefore focus on safeguarding our energy security by ensuring access to adequate supplies of affordable and clean energy; promoting efficiency and conservation; and modernizing and expanding our energy infrastructure. Over the longer term, meeting these challenges will require fundamental changes in the way we produce and use energy, and the development of advanced energy technologies that could transform our economy.

Since President Bush unveiled the National Energy Policy in May 2001, this Administration has implemented or is taking action on all of the NEP recommendations that could be implemented without legislation by Congress. Congress has acted upon a number of the other recommendations, including the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline, the Pipeline Safety Act, and certain tax measures and funding increases. 

Legislation considered by previous Congresses has contained numerous provisions to address many critical energy issues. Energy legislation, in my view, is among the most important matters to come before this Congress. I look forward to working with the Congress as an enthusiastic advocate for the passage of energy legislation this year.

I would now like to take a few moments to give you some highlights of DOE's FY06 budget request, which supports this policy agenda.

The fiscal year 2006 budget request, totaling $23.4 billion, is an investment formulated to deliver results in four strategic areas: Defense, Energy, Science, and the Environment. Our 2006 budget is $492 million below the FY 2005 appropriation. Overall, it represents a 2 percent reduction from 2005, showing DOE's commitment to improved management, streamlined operations and results-driven performance. 

 We are requesting $2.6 billion in FY 2006 in the energy area. Research funded by the Department has produced some significant advances. For example, the high-volume cost of automotive fuel cells has been reduced from $275 per kilowatt in 2002 to $200 per kilowatt in 2004 using innovative processes developed by the national laboratories and fuel cell developers. Achieving a cost of $50 per kilowatt is a technological advance required to help make fuel cell vehicles cost competitive with today's vehicles. 

In addition, the budget continues to support the Weatherization Assistance Program, to reduce utility bills for low-income families while conserving energy.           

The budget request of $3.5 billion in FY 2006 for the Office of Science supports the continued operation of world-class, state-of-the-art scientific facilities and the design and construction of new science facilities. 

Our request for defense programs is $9.4 billion to support the nuclear deterrent and to fund nonproliferation programs such as Megaports Initiative aimed at stopping illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive material. 

The FY 2006 budget requests $7.3 billion for activities within the Offices of Environmental Management, Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, and Legacy Management. This amount is considerably less than last year's allocation, because the Department is on track to meet goals in a number of areas, including cleanup of contaminated DOE sites and the commitment to complete the license application process and construction of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.   

I look forward to working with the members of this Committee on the many issues I have discussed, and would be happy to answer any questions.

Location: Washington, DC

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