Mr. McKINLEY. Mr. Chairman, I would like to commend Chairman Frelinghuysen and the committee for their efforts in developing legislation that is intended to streamline processes and increase efficiency within the Department of Energy. Throughout this legislation, we can see intelligent savings that will result in less spending and more efficient use of tax dollars.
However, I'm concerned that this legislation as written and reported will have the unintended consequence of destroying the National Energy Technology Laboratory's ability to manage approximately $19 billion in contracts and conduct the necessary research and [Page: H4998]
development to advance safe natural gas drilling, clean coal technologies and energy independence.
I shared my concerns with Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Visclosky in a bipartisan letter signed by my colleagues Mike Doyle, Tim Murphy, and Mark Critz.
America depends on fossil resources for 85 percent of our energy requirements, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Coal is mined in 26 States in our country and used to generate electricity in 48 of the 50 States. However, without NETL's research into clean coal technology, hundreds of thousands of jobs across America are in jeopardy.
The fossil fuel R&D program that is being cut in this bill is unique among the DOE programs because the program direction account includes funding for the operations, maintenance, and administration of the National Energy Technology Lab, along with salaries and benefits for all of the Federal researchers who work there. NETL is the only government owned, government operated national laboratory. OMB requires that all Federal costs be included in the program direction account.
This amendment would restore the funding cut within Fossil Energy Research and Development to program direction in an effort to recognize the outstanding work being done by NETL and the unique manner in which the laboratory is funded and maintained.
Mr. Chairman, these projects are in every State and almost every congressional district in the country. Virtually every one of my colleagues has a vested interest in this laboratory being funded sufficiently and effectively so we can complete these projects.
I yield to the gentleman from New Jersey.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Your amendment would shift an additional $39 million within Fossil Energy Research and Development to program direction. I recognize the important role that the Fossil Energy Research and Development program plays in securing our energy future, especially when 70 percent of our energy comes from fossil sources. And I certainly recognize your strong advocacy as a gentleman from West Virginia, and the important role in fossil fuel that your State plays, providing such for the Nation.
I also recognize the critical role scientists and their research at our national laboratories--including the one in your State, NETL--play in keeping our Nation in the lead in fossil energy technologies.
Our bill demonstrates this support by funding Fossil Energy Research and Development at $32 billion above the fiscal year 2011 level. The bill also, however, increases the transparency of these programs by moving research and development out of program direction and into research programs. With that change included in the bill, the Department of Energy still has the authority to fund laboratory personnel doing valuable work at the national labs. However, recognizing my colleague's concerns, we
would be happy to work with the gentleman as we move toward conference to ensure that salaries and expenses for ongoing activities are fully funded while increasing the transparency of ongoing research.