Chairwoman Kaptur Statement at FY 2022 Budget Request for the Department of Energy Hearing

2021-05-06 13:10

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Chair of the Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on the FY 2022 Budget Request for the Department of Energy:

Let us begin our first hearing on the fiscal year 2022 budget request, for the Department of Energy. Thank you, Secretary Granholm, for joining us today. I’m so thrilled to have a fellow Great Lakes colleague with such a distinguished career as our Secretary of Energy. With Secretary Granholm’s leadership and experience, she will ensure the transition to a clean energy future will be done with workers and communities in mind.

As we begin our discussion on fiscal year 2022, I must first note that we appreciate the recently-released budget overview. And we look forward to receiving the full budget request – hopefully very soon – to allow us to move forward expeditiously to craft our bill.

DOE addresses our nation’s most pressing energy, environmental, and nuclear security challenges through transformative science, technology, and applied system investments across our nation. DOE funding has helped drive down the prices of wind, solar, energy storage, and efficient lightbulbs by 60 to 95 percent since 2008. But did you know that DOE helped decode DNA through the Human Genome Projects, develop the fastest computers in the world, and discovered 22 new elements of the periodic table?

With new challenges comes opportunity on many fronts:

  • opportunity to achieve progress for our nation to sustain life, to grow our economy, and to assure national security through energy independence;
  • opportunity to meet the imperative of addressing our climate crisis by making energy supplies cleaner and more resilient,
  • opportunity to advance high science and yield innovation to heal our nation, meet new horizons in technology, and to keep our nation globally competitive, and last but not least,
  • opportunity to cost-effectively sustain the nation’s nuclear deterrent while simultaneously supporting nuclear nonproliferation.

The Biden administration has been clear from day one about the need to urgently address the climate crisis.

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent – from the winter energy disaster in Texas, to water surpluses in the heartland, to the ongoing and worsening drought in the West – our way of life will continue to deteriorate if we don’t act and make adjustments to secure a better future.

In addition, extreme weather is extremely costly. Last year alone natural disasters cost the U.S. nearly $100 billion.

The Department of Energy holds a consequential opportunity to meet the new needs of a new day. Our nation must lead with up-front investments that will help reduce those costs. As we discussed at hearings earlier this year, DOE-funded research and resulting technologies through pathbreaking innovations are already helping address climate change. The cost decreases I mentioned earlier have led to widespread deployment, consumer savings, good-paying jobs, and more security for our people.

The budget is an opportunity to invest in our nation and our common future. I welcome the Department’s leadership in advancing equity by creating an inclusive economy and expanding opportunity.

I’m pleased to see a serious focus not only on developing clean energy technologies but new thinking about how to deploy them. In the past DOE has not done a good job to “meet the street.” Your focus and leadership will help get us closer, and frankly your experience as a governor will propel DOE and the nation into a new energy era.

The proposed investments in scientific innovations will yield the technologies of tomorrow and keep the U.S. as a global leader. And I’m so pleased to see a budget request that proposes more funding for ARPA-E and its transformational technologies of the future rather than eliminating it. Current ARPA-E programs are focusing on breakthrough innovations like reducing methane emissions, engineering biology for the future bioeconomy, and developing electric power systems for aviation.

This budget request also makes a serious investment in one of DOE’s most meaningful “meet the streets” efforts – the Weatherization Assistance Program. It is so pivotal to the mammoth task of energy conservation for existing structures and neighborhoods and helping lower-income families and individuals reduce their burdensome energy costs.

Finally, I am excited that the President’s American Jobs Plan creates new jobs by reinvesting in areas and workers too often left behind. Thankfully, it prominently features DOE efforts. DOE should be looked at as the jobs department because DOE produces the technologies that produce jobs.

I look forward to working with the Department and our Committee to ensure that it is reflective of the needs of our nation as we enter a new energy age.

With that, I’ll close my remarks. Thank you, Madam Secretary, for being here today. We look forward discussing this request and your vision for the Department.

117th Congress