Newly appointed Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee March 3 that his department has cut oil and gas research out of its proposed $23.4 billion budget along with a number of other energy programs that took complete or partial hits to funding.
Bodman said DOE’s 2006 budget is $475 million smaller than its 2005 counterpart, mainly because of the Bush administration’s need to increase money for Homeland Security and the War on Terror.
“With oil at $50, the industry is in better financial shape than it has been in many years,” Bodman told the committee. “They ought to be able to spend money on research themselves.”
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski questioned the move, saying new technologies will be needed to enable the country to adapt to and mitigate climate change and government funding is critical to unlocking unconventional gas resources such as gas hydrates. Alaska has a gas hydrates resource of 32,000 trillion cubic feet, she added.
Bodman replied that the Bush administration had to make some “very tough choices,” but it is up to Congress what ultimately happens to the budget.