Chairwoman Kaptur Statement at Hearing on FY 2021 Budget Request for DOE's Offices of Environmental Management, Science, and ARPA-E

2020-03-11 14:03

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Chair of the Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on the Fiscal Year 2021 budget requests for the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy, Office of Science, and Environmental Management:

The Subcommittee will come to order as we begin our hearing on the Department of Energy’s fiscal year 2021 budget request with respect to its Environmental Management, Science, as well as the ARPA-E programs. Thank you to our witnesses for being here.

This is our committee’s fifth budget hearing. As I’ve expressed in the last four hearings, I am deeply disappointed in the Administration’s request. The deep cuts are unrealistic and will result in a failure to address our nation’s most pressing challenges including climate change and maintaining American leadership in energy innovation.  And surely the Trump budget utterly fails to meet our moral and legal obligations to the communities that helped our nation win World War II.

DOE’s Office of Environmental Management addresses the environmental legacy resulting from five decades of nuclear weapons production and government-sponsored nuclear energy research. EM is responsible for the cleanup of some of the world’s most radioactive sites – a mission that is complicated and dangerous, but vital to ensuring clean soil, water, and air for many Americans now and in the future. 

This unrealistic request proposes to cut EM by 19 percent, jeopardizing progress made on the remaining 16 sites, while delaying several projects unnecessarily.  These deep cuts translate into a moral and legal failure that we cannot accept.

Similarly, the budget request proposes draconian cuts to the Office of Science, 17 percent or $1.2 billion from last year’s level. The Office of Science is an indispensable pillar of American leadership in science and technology yielding over 100 Nobel prizes and making key scientific advances ranging from creating solar energy systems and successive generations of batteries, to inventing new materials, and decoding DNA.

Cuts of this magnitude will endanger America’s leadership in technological innovation, economic progress, and I believe, national security.  Reflect for the moment on 100 Nobel prizes.  These accounts embrace the future, sustain a better life for all, and assure our national security on many fronts including the unknown.

Finally, the proposed elimination of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) program is an absolute non-starter. Since its inception, ARPA-E has supported breakthrough technologies, such as next-generation batteries, electric aviation, and improving components of solar panels. ARPA-E fills the gaps between basic and applied research where the private sector will not take those financial risks. This is vital to innovation. Our nation should be investing more in science and engineering, not less.

Our country’s energy future depends on DOE’s vital investments to solve our toughest energy challenges. The Trump budget request harms America’s energy future, our competitiveness, our workforce, our consumers, and our economy. The Trump budget also falls short in meeting our obligations to the communities that have sacrificed, and still bear the brunt of environmental costs borne from winning World War II.

With that, I’ll close my remarks. Thank you, Dr. Fall, Mr. Genatowski, and Mr. White, for being here today. And to Dr. Fall, thank you for visiting Ohio for our national laboratory day. It was a rewarding and fruitful conversation that is yielding real results. We look forward to discussing the Department’s budget request and adapting it accordingly.

116th Congress