DOE Faces Cuts To Its 2012 Budget | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: June 6, 2011

DOE Faces Cuts To Its 2012 Budget

Appropriations subcommittee approves legislation to fund DOE at $24.7 billion
Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: DOE, federal budget

The Department of Energy could see major cuts in funding for fiscal year 2012, if the Energy & Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee gets its way. The Republican-led subcommittee last week approved the 2012 Energy and Water and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which funds DOE at $24.7 billion, $850 million below its 2011 budget and $5.9 billion below the President Barack Obama's 2012 request.

"The Committee takes seriously its responsibility to reign in federal spending in fiscal year 2012. We had to make some difficult choices, but in the balance, I think this is a fair bill," stated Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), the chair of the subcommittee.

The legislation provides funding for the DOE, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and other regional water and power authorities. The bill totals $30.6 billion—$5.9 billion less than the President's request for 2012 and $1 billion below this year.

Programs within DOE that support the nation's security and economic competiveness are given priority in the bill. It allocates $10.6 billion, an increase of $147 million over the 2011 budget, for DOE's nuclear security programs. For scientific research, the bill sets aside $4.8 billion for work on basic energy issues, high performance computing systems, and the next generation of clean energy sources, $43 million below this year's level.

Programs that help lower the cost of renewable energy technologies and to develop new technology receive $1.3 billion in the 2012 budget. The money is aimed to promote the nation's energy independence and help create U.S. jobs, but falls $491 million below this year's level. For R&D in advanced coal, natural gas, and other fossil energy power generation technologies, the bill provides $477 million, an increase of $32 million over the 2011 level. The bill includes $100 million to support the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E), a 44.3% cut compared to current funding and 81.8% below the President's request.

The bill rejects the Obama Administration attempts to close down the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository program and instead provides $35 million to support it. The legislation also sets aside $5.6 billion for environmental management activities, which is $101 million below this year's level of funding. This includes $4.9 billion for Defense Environmental Cleanup to safely remediate sites contaminated by previous nuclear weapons production.

The full appropriations committee will consider the bill on June 15.

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