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Testimony Bodman

Samuel W. Bodman
U.S. Secretary of Energy

U.S. Senate
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Washington, D.C.
March 3, 2005

Testimony for the Record

Good morning, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee. I am pleased to appear before you today to discuss the president’s FY 2006 budget request for the Department of Energy.

In the Feb. 2 State of the Union Address, the president underscored the need to restrain spending in order to sustain our economic prosperity. Of the more than 150 reductions, reforms and terminations in non-defense discretionary programs in the president’s FY 2006 budget, six are DOE programs. These include termination of Nuclear Energy Plant Optimization, Nuclear Energy Research Initiative, Hydropower and Oil and Gas research and development programs; reduced funding for Environmental Management; and reform of the Power Marketing Administrations’ electricity rates. We look forward to working with you to achieve these savings.

At $23.4 billion, the department’s FY 2006 budget is $475 million below the FY 2005 appropriation, contributing to the president’s deficit reduction goal. Overall, this is a 2 percent reduction from FY 2005. About $8.3 billion of the FY 2006 request is for energy, science and other programs within the jurisdiction of this committee.

Over the past four years, improvements in the management of the department through the president’s management agenda increased our ability to deliver tangible results throughout our various programs. An example is reducing the high-volume cost of automotive fuel cells from $275 per kilowatt in 2002 to $200 per kilowatt in 2004, using processes developed in partnership with the national laboratories and the private sector toward a goal of $50 per kilowatt.

The department also has made progress in its effort to ensure that nuclear power remains part of the nation’s fuel mix. In FY 2006, we propose to accelerate efforts to promote near-term construction of new nuclear power plant designs in the United States. We also are working internationally to develop advanced nuclear technologies to take us to the next level in terms of efficiency, reliability and security.

The long-term viability of nuclear power requires environmentally sound management of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel generated from nuclear power plants. Therefore, the department in the last two years has transformed the focus of our Civilian Radioactive Waste Management Program from scientific research to construction of a permanent nuclear waste repository.

In addition to nuclear research, we are focusing resources on other new technologies to meet future energy and environmental challenges. These are investments in transformative technologies that will change the way we use and produce energy. We are pursuing a path toward a “hydrogen economy”—with affordable zero-emissions fuel cell vehicles, abundant sources of production and the safe storage and transportation of hydrogen fuel.

The department is developing carbon sequestration which, when used in conjunction with advanced power production technologies, could help reduce the environmental impact of coal-fired power generation.

We also are contributing to the effort known as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor to pursue the promise of clean, safe, renewable and commercially available fusion energy by the middle of this century.

The strong investment the department continues to make to advance cutting-edge science enables us to explore the possibilities of fusion and hydrogen to add strong options to the nation’s energy portfolio.

The DOE budget request charts a focused course of investment for the nation’s future. I am both excited and privileged to have the opportunity to lead this department to fulfill the vision the president has laid out for us in FY 2006 and beyond.

Mr. Chairman, I look forward to working with you and the members of this committee as we pursue our mission of providing for national and energy security, and I would be pleased to answer any questions.