Washington, D.C. – The House Science, Space and Technology Committee today held a hearing to examine recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our nation’s national energy laboratories.
Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-Texas): “Each of the 17 labs has distinct characteristics and capabilities that bring a unique set of challenges when it comes to management, oversight, safety and security. The question is how much discretion should the DOE delegate to contractor-operators while balancing the need to maintain DOE’s oversight responsibilities.”
The Subcommittee heard from the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories about the findings in their recent report Securing America’s Future: Realizing the Potential of the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories.
The DOE laboratory complex comprises 17 laboratories across the United States that employ approximately 55,000 people and received billions of taxpayer dollars annually to pursue critical, long-term research and development. Witnesses today stressed that these capabilities are crucial to the nation’s future and cannot be carried out solely by academic institutions or the private sector. However, they urged changes to the Department of Energy’s aversion to risk in order to make the labs more effective and efficient.
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Congress has limited resources for research and development. We have a responsibility to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently and effectively. To achieve the best return on investment for the American people, we must ensure the DOE labs are able to realize their full potential.”
Witnesses today discussed barriers to partnership between the labs and small businesses, including the complexity of contracts, extended delays for DOE approval, and a high costs for collaboration due to funding requirements.
The following witnesses testified today before the Subcommittee:
Mr. TJ Glauthier, Co-Chair, Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories
Dr. Jared Cohon, Co-Chair, Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories
Dr. Peter Littlewood, Director, Argonne National Laboratory
For more information about today’s hearing, including witness testimony and a link to the webcast, visit the Committee’s website.