Kaptur Statement at Hearing on Department of Energy 2015 Budget Request
Good afternoon. Dr. Moniz, it is good to see you again and welcome to your first appearance before the Subcommittee.
Mr. Secretary, the early reviews on your tenure as Secretary have been good from most, if not all, quarters but I believe the hardest challenges lie before you.
I have long sited our reliance on foreign energy as a grave economic and national security concern—over the last decade, we have spent $2.3 trillion importing foreign oil, making rich some of the worst global players at the expense of our own citizens.
The recent events in Ukraine have highlighted in stark relief the importance of reliable energy to the world’s ability to defend the borders of sovereign nations. The dependence of Ukraine and much of Europe on Russian energy imports have complicated the international response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea. This is not just a challenge to Europe; it is one of the defining challenges of our time.
Our own energy crisis is not just about insecure oil supplies from the Middle East, but about the cost it inflicts on hardworking Americans, the national security threat it poses, and the havoc it wreaks on the environment. I appreciate your support of an all-of-the-above energy strategy, but action coupled with a long-term strategy is necessary now, not tomorrow or next week.
While we are developing our approach to the energy future of this country we must also focus on commercialization efforts with a strong bias toward improving American manufacturing. I cannot emphasize this point enough. I see very little merit to the Department fostering technological advances or breakthroughs for products that do not contribute in some way to American manufacturing or are not ultimately manufactured domestically.
The government can drive the policies and incentives for a more robust energy mix and smarter energy consumption. However, as I’ve said before, no matter the policy set forth, if strong leadership and fundamental management reform are not forthcoming at the Department of Energy, it will significantly inhibit the chance of a successful energy policy as well as the Department’s credibility.
I know contract and project management seem tedious and dull. However, as a relatively new member of this subcommittee I have been appalled at the cost overruns and schedule slips of the Department of Energy’s major construction projects. I know you are taking action in this regard and I look forward to hearing more about that.
Mr. Secretary, I am eager to discuss how the FY 2015 budget request will help address the energy and national security challenges we face and improve the nation’s manufacturing base.
Thank you Mr. Chairman for the time and I look forward to our hearing today.