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SPECIAL UPDATE: President's FY 2005 Budget Request
Department of Energy

(Posted 3-15-04)


This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's member societies.

IN A NUTSHELL: A total of $3,431.7 million was requested for the Department of Energy's Office of Science in President Bush's FY 2005 budget request. This represents a reduction of 2.0%, or $68.5 million, from FY 2004 funding of $3,500.2 million. However, according to Office of Science Director Ray Orbach, the cut reflects the elimination of $140.7 million in congressionally-directed earmarks in the FY 2004 appropriation for Biological and Environmental Research, which were not included in the FY 2005 request. Taking this into consideration, Orbach said, the request of $3,431.7 million would represent an increase of 2.2%, or $72.3 million, over the FY 2004 appropriation of $3,359.4 million for the Office of Science core programs.

The complete DOE budget documents can be found at www.mbe.doe.gov/budget/05budget/index.htm. Highlights of the request for each of the Office of Science programs are available in the "Budget Highlights" document (in pdf format) under "Science Strategic Goal," at www.mbe.doe.gov/budget/05budget/content/highlite/highlite.pdf.

Department of Energy (DOE):

The total Department of Energy request for FY 2005 is $23.5 billion, an increase of 1.8% from last year's funding level. The department is responsible for a wide array of missions, most not related to energy. The two largest parts of the budget are the National Nuclear Security Administration ($9 billion), which oversees the development and management of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, and environmental cleanup of former nuclear weapons production facilities ($14 billion).

*** Office of Science ***
Total funding for the DOE Office of Science was cut by 1% to $3.43 billion in the president's request. Within the Office of Science, the Basic Energy Sciences (BES) programs would receive $1.06 billion, up 5.2%. The Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biological Energy Sciences account within BES is slated to receive $228 million, an increase of 4% above last year's request. Also within the Office of Science, the Biological and Environmental Research program would receive nearly $501 million, down almost 22% from last year, but up slightly from the FY03 budget.

*** Nuclear Waste Disposal ***
Last year's decision by the President and Congress to accept the Yucca Mountain site as the nation's permanent disposal site for high-level nuclear waste means that the project has moved into its second phase. After more than 20 years and $4 billion in site characterization, funding for Yucca Mountain will now be focused primarily on activities to support the submission of a license application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The budget request includes $591 million for licensing and program management activities, basically flat from last year's request but an increase of nearly 58% from the allocation two years ago. Within this amount, there is a sizable jump in funding for activities related to waste acceptance, storage, and transportation in anticipation of the repository accepting waste by 2010.

*** Environmental Management ***
The Office of Environmental Management (EM) is responsible for managing the cleanup of the environmental legacy of the nation's nuclear weapons program
-- everything from research to testing to production. The total EM request comes to $7.4 billion, a 4.1% increase from the comparable FY 2004 budget request. The budget request states that this level of funding should provide the resources for EM to work towards its goal to complete cleanup of 89 of the 114 sites by the end of 2006.

*** Geothermal ***
Geothermal technology funded under the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is marked for an increase of 1% from last year's request, to total $25.8 million. Again, research related to hydrogen has won out over the established programs within this account. In total, EERE has requested $374 million, an increase of 1.2% from last year's request.

To keep up-to-date with the latest information about how Congress plans to fund these programs within the Department of Energy, click on http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis108/appropsfy2005_energy.html.

*** Fossil Energy Program ***
The Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy (FE) requested a total of $729 million, a decrease of just over 9% from last year's funding level. Within that total, R&D programs would receive $636 million, a cut of over 5% from last year's level. More than 60% of the R&D funding goes to the president's $447 million Coal Research Initiative (CRI), which is predominantly directed at downstream technology. CRI does include $49 million for carbon sequestration R&D, which marks a 19% increase from last year's allocation.

Funding for oil and natural gas R&D combined make up only 6.5% of the total Fossil Energy R&D budget, a percentage that continues to drop with each new request. Funding for Natural Gas Technologies totals $26 million, a 40% cut from last year. Also funded through the natural gas account is $6 million for joint research with industry into the potential of gas hydrates as a future energy resource. The funding for hydrates is down 36% from last year, for a total of $6 million. The budget proposes to consolidate a number of programs under the Natural Gas Exploration and Production account into a new Sustainable Supply account while cutting 21% from last year's allocation. According to budget documents, this consolidation is in part due to a federal government-wide assessment of programs that encourages management to "phase out programs and activities that are neither productive nor integral to the program's mission and goals."

Simply put, the Oil Technology R&D account is gutted in the president's request. As with natural gas, programs within the Oil Exploration and Production account have been consolidated but with much more dramatic cuts. The total Oil Technology request is $26 million, a 40% cut from last year. Funding for the Oil Exploration and Production account was slashed to a total of $3 million, down 84% from last year's funding level. Also within the overall FE funding is $20 million for the Naval Petroleum & Oil Shale Reserves (NPR).

The FE budget document is available at http://fossil.energy.gov/budget/. The Government Affairs Program will track the funding path for DOE's fossil energy program in the coming months. Up-to-date information can be found by logging on to http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis108/appropsfy2005_interior.html.

Special update prepared by Emily M. Lehr, AGI Government Affairs Program and Gayle Levy, AGI/AAPG 2004 Spring Semester Intern.

Sources: American Institute of Physics, Environment and Energy Daily, Greenwire, The Washington Post, the Department of Energy website

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program.

Posted March 15, 2004