Mr. MILLER of North Carolina. Mr. Chairman, this amendment is similar to others that we have heard today.
This amendment would reduce the Fossil Energy Research and Development account by $24.018 million, and will put as much of that money as our rules will allow into the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment.
The bill now is $5.9 billion less than the administration's request and is more than $1 billion less than last year's funding. Fossil energy is a glaring exception to the austerity visited upon every other kind of energy research, but the Fossil Energy program gets an increase of $24 million above what the administration requested and $32 million more than last year's levels.
This amendment would reduce that account, Fossil Energy, to the level of the administration's request, and will put as much money as possible back into energy efficiency and renewable energy research, which now gets a $331 million cut, or more than 25 percent, more than a quarter.
Mr. Chairman, I agree that we need to be doing fossil energy research. It is more than 70 percent of our energy now, and it will be the bulk of our energy supply for the foreseeable future. We do need an abundant and clean supply of fossil energy, but it's hard to look at the spending levels in this bill and not see some hypocrisy at work.
I am the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, and I have heard again and again in committee hearing after committee hearing and in subcommittee hearing after subcommittee hearing the same stale talking point that it is not the place of the Federal Government to pick energy winners and losers and that taxpayers shouldn't have to subsidize the development of alternative fuels.
Just last week, in a hearing in the committee, one of my Republican colleagues on the committee said we should promote an all-of-the-above approach--oil, nuclear, coal, natural gas. Heck, I'm okay with wind, solar, water, biofuels and everything else you can think of as long as it isn't subsidized by the American taxpayer. And we've heard that same talking point again and again today.
The subsidy, the help with funding for research that the alternative energy now gets, is tiny in comparison to what traditional energy sources--fossil fuel and nuclear--have gotten for a long time. And if Republicans are now pushing alternative energy and energy efficiency technologies away from the public trough, it is so they can make more room for fossil fuels and nuclear.
Of course those traditional industries have been subsidized right along, and they continue to be subsidized in this bill today. Taxpayers subsidize it, in addition to this little bit of research funding, with very significant tax incentives--the subject of discussions over at Blair House the last few weeks, and we've heard there is no budging on that. And we know that those industries fully expect, if disaster strikes, if there is a massive oil spill or, God forbid, a nuclear accident, they won't
really have to pay the cost. They will get help with that; they will get bailed out.
We are not talking about basic early-stage research here; that's somewhere else in the bill. This is all late-stage applied research. But in the case of alternative energies, we have fledgling industries, economically vulnerable industries that have some ways to go to get to the marketplace before they can turn a profit. And on the other hand, we've got an industry that is 70 percent of our current energy supply. They're up and running, they're in good shape, they're fabulously profitable.
The top five oil and gas companies made $32 billion in profits in the first quarter--the first quarter, $32 billion, 3 months. To that industry Republicans say, belly on up to the public trough, boys; we'll make room for you.
The energy research that we're talking about in the EER&E is wind, solar, biomass, water--on and on. You know what they are. We need to make some of those technologies work, or we are not going to have enough energy in the future. And in the shorter term, they promised healthy competition for the fossil fuel industry to bring down the cost of energy for Americans.
It's hard, in fact, to look at the hostility of Republicans to those industries, to those emerging energy technologies and think a big part of their hostility is not at the bidding of the fossil fuel industry to smother that competition in the crib.
I urge adoption of this amendment.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. The gentleman from North Carolina's amendment increases funding for the Energy Efficiency and Renewable account, a program that I said earlier has seen record increases since 2007 and still has $9 billion in unspent stimulus funds in its account from 2009 to spend. On that alone, I oppose this amendment and urge my colleagues to do so as well.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Miller).
The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.