U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today said the Department of Energy's $28.4 billion budget proposal fails to support the kind of comprehensive policies needed to improve the nation's security and return its economic vitality.
"While the administration has repeatedly pledged to support an "all of the above' energy policy, I still do not see that reflected here," Murkowski told Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman at the DOE budget hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday.
Murkowski questioned Poneman on the department's declining support for unconventional fossil energy technologies and lack of emphasis on marine hydrokinetics and hydropower research, despite the monumental promise these sources of energy hold. Under Murkowski's questioning, Poneman testified that the department's Office of Fossil Energy is working "as quickly as they possibly can" to review applications for additional liquefied gas export facilities.
"Finding ways to develop and improve the recovery of the vast amounts of unconventional resources such as oil shale, heavy oil, tar sands and methane hydrades locked in reservoirs throughout the United States is critical to our efforts to reduce our reliance on OPEC oil. Yet, the budget request once again zeros out funding for the unconventional fossil energy technologies program," Murkowski said. "This budget cuts research and development for fossil energy by over $90 million. What is the rationale for deemphasizing innovative oil and gas technology when it is precisely fossil fuels that are helping revitalize America's industry, boost our exports and create jobs?"
Murkowski earlier this year released her own blueprint for moving the nation toward energy independence. Murkowski's Energy 20/20 includes more than 200 policy recommendations to ensure that the United States has access to energy that is abundant, affordable, clean, diverse and secure.
"At the top of my list is greater domestic energy production -- of every form of energy," Murkowski said. "New production will not only make our energy supplies more affordable, but also bring new revenues for the federal treasury."
At the start of Thursday's hearing, the committee voted 21-1 in favor of sending the nomination of Dr. Ernest Moniz to be the next head of DOE to the full Senate for a vote.