Washington, D.C. – The Energy Subcommittee today held a hearing to examine the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy’s research and development for coal, oil, and natural gas. The Subcommittee heard from DOE Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Chris Smith on Office of Fossil Energy R&D and the impact DOE’s fossil energy programs have on the energy market and the U.S. economy. 

Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-Texas): Fossil fuels are America’s dominant energy source, and provide over 80% of energy around the world. With those statistics in mind, DOE should prioritize the type of early stage research in fossil energy that will lead to next generation technology to access our natural resources, move fossil fuels safely to consumers, and use them more efficiently in our cars and power plants.  Through the national labs, the Department should take the lead on fossil energy technology innovation, conducting the foundational research that allows the private sector to commercialize ground breaking technology.”

Today the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released an International Energy Outlook projecting that fossil fuels would still account for 78% of energy use by 2040.  In the DOE fiscal year 2017 budget request, the budget for Fossil Energy R&D was cut by $32 million. In comparison, the proposed budget for renewable energy increased $2.1 billion.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “DOE refuses to prioritize early stage research and development for innovative fossil energy exploration and production technologies or research to develop and integrate technology to make coal-fired power plants more efficient.  Instead, the Fossil Energy R&D program has become singularly focused on carbon dioxide management. 

“DOE should expand access to America’s oil and gas resources, not use limited federal research dollars to help the EPA measure emissions. Unfortunately, fossil energy innovation does not appear to be a priority for this administration.”

For more information about today’s hearing, including witness testimony and the hearing webcast, please visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.