Smith and Lummis Question President's Call for Additional $2 Billion Energy Spending

Press Release

By:  Lamar Smith Cynthia Lummis
Date: March 15, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) today responded to President Obama's call for an additional $2 billion in spending on green energy programs. The President made the announcement during remarks at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.

Chairman Smith: "The President's call today for $2 billion in new spending for green energy programs is not the answer to the nation's energy challenges. And it adds billions more to the deficit.

"The President wants more money to fund more pet projects, but it is clear that his administration has not been responsible with the taxpayer dollars that have already been spent. As we have seen time and again, much of this spending is duplicative and wasteful. We need to better prioritize federal spending. Federal dollars should be focused on research and development, not picking winners and losers, which is a role better left to the private sector."

A 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to the Science, Space, and Technology Committee found that the Federal government already administers 39 different battery technology programs across six different agencies, to the tune of $1.3 billion since 2009. Just last month, the Department of Energy Inspector General issued a report on a battery project where millions of federal taxpayer dollars were spent paying employees to watch movies and play board games. In 2009, the Obama administration awarded LG Chem Michigan with $151 million to fund the start up and testing of a new production plant in Michigan for lithium ion batteries to be installed in electric cars. But according to the IG, the project failed to manufacture actual battery cells and spent more than $1.6 million on non-productive work.

Chairman Lummis: "As Chairman of the Energy Subcommittee and co-chair of the Congressional Western Caucus, I have long advocated for unleashing the energy potential of the American West. A recent report by the Institute for Energy research found that opening new areas on and offshore to energy production could yield the Federal government an additional $24 billion annually and help supply Americans with abundant and affordable domestic energy. It is extremely disappointing that the President's proposal--which clearly recognizes the revenue potential of these vast resources--does not intend to open up any new lands to expanded production."