ALERT: Support Increased Funding for DOE's
Office of Fossil Energy
This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's
In A Nutshell: Each year during the appropriations process, members
of Congress may circulate "Dear Colleague" letters, obtain
signatures and submit these letters to an appropriations subcommittee
in support of a specific program or project. These letters allow members
of Congress to demonstrate their support for a program. A large number
of signatures indicate strong support for the program discussed in
the letter. Currently, Representative Ralph Hall (R-TX) and Senator
Craig Thomas (R-WY) are collecting signatures for a Dear Colleague
letter circulating in the House and the Senate respectively that request
increased funding for Fossil Energy Research and Development within
DOE. The letters will be sent to the respective Energy and Water Development
Rep. Hall's and Senator Thomas' Dear Colleague letters request that
Congress provide $78 million for Oil and Gas Technology within DOE
in fiscal year 2006. The President's requested that this program be
terminated and given $10 million to shut down the program in FY06.
Please contact your Representative and Senators and ask them to sign
the Dear Colleague letter and to support increased funding for Fossil
Energy in DOE. The deadline for signing Rep. Hall's letter is May
9, 2005 and the deadline for signing Senator Thomas' letter is May
10, 2005, so the most efficient way to reach your representative is
by phone, fax or email. Copies of the letters are copied below and
are addressed to the co-chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations
Instructions for contacting your Representative are given below.
You can use the same instructions for contacting your Senators, but
refer to Senator Thomas' letter, not Rep. Hall's.
To determine who your Representative is, go to www.house.gov and
enter your zip code. The link will also provide the contact information
for your Representative, so you can call, fax or email them.
1. Call your Representative's Washington, DC office.
You may obtain the phone number from their official website (via
www.house.gov) or you may call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121)
and ask to be connected to Representative [name] office. NOTE: You
must know the name of your Representative prior to calling the switchboard;
they will not be able to tell you who your member of Congress is.
Ask to speak to the legislative assistant responsible for DOE. When
connected: Encourage the staffer to have Representative [name] sign
Rep. Hall's Fossil Energy DOE Dear Colleague letter. Be prepared to
mention how important DOE funding is to your research, academic department/institution,
industry and/or your community. Legislative staff are busy, so you
may be asked if you would like to leave a voice mail -you do. Simply
convey the same information you would have if you spoke to the staffer
in person, but be sure to leave your contact information.
2. E-Mail or Fax your Representative
Your Representative's e-mail addresses and fax numbers are available
on their website at www.house.gov.
Tips for an effective e-mail or fax message:
-Be sure that the subject line in your e-mail is clear: Please sign
Rep. Hall's Fossil Energy DOE Dear Colleague, or Request Rep. [name]
support increased funding for Fossil Energy in DOE.
-Be sure that you include your contact information at the top of
the e-mail/letter; this must include your name, mailing address, phone
number and e-mail address. NOTE: many offices will discard correspondence
that does not include contact information, or that comes from outside
of their district.
-In the opening paragraph of your message, clearly state that you
are writing to ask that your Representative sign Rep. Hall's Fossil
Energy DOE Dear Colleague letter. Tell them that the letter requests
that Congress provide the Oil and Gas Technology with $78 million
in FY 2006 funding.
-Briefly explain why DOE funding for basic research is important
to you and/or your institution/company.
You can also find more information on the NSF budget at the Government
Affairs website (http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis109/appropsfy2006_doe.html).
The deadline for signing the letter in the House is May 9 and the
deadline for signing the letter in the Senate is May 10, so please
contact your Representative as soon as possible.
Please fax or e-mail a copy of your letter to AGI at Government Affairs
Program, 422King Street, Alexandria VA 22302-1502; fax 703-379-7563;
Many thanks for taking the time to be an active citizen-scientist!
Copy of Letter Being Circulated by Representative Hall
The Honorable David Hobson The Honorable Peter Visclosky
Chairman Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee on
Energy & Water Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Hobson and Ranking Member Visclosky:
As the Subcommittee begins to formulate and mark-up its Energy and
Water Appropriations bill in the next few weeks, we strongly urge
the Subcommittee to fund the Department of Energy's oil and gas technologies
programs at last year's funding level of $78 million. As you know,
the Administration included in its Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Request
for the DOE a proposal to eliminate those programs and provide $10
million to close out the oil technology program and $10 million to
close out the natural gas technology program. Both of these technology
programs develop vital research to enhance and sustain domestic oil
and natural gas production. This research is particularly significant
to the independent operating companies that produce most domestic
oil and gas and to the universities that educate the petroleum engineers
and petroleum geologists that are essential to meet the workforce
needs of this industry.
The elimination of DOE funding for oil and gas research will severely
impact the ability of our nation's universities to educate engineers
to advance new technologies and supply the workforce needed to develop
our domestic oil and gas resources. The DOE oil and natural gas technologies
programs provide vital support to petroleum engineering departments
across the country. According to an April 4, 2005 letter from petroleum
engineering department heads from leading universities across the
country, "Our ability to retain the best faculty who are needed
to train Petroleum Engineers for the coming decades depends entirely
on our being able to provide research funding to the faculty."
If this funding source falls through, there will not be many viable
petroleum engineering programs left in the U.S., and our leadership
in the worldwide energy industry will decline.
Federally funded R&D is also essential for smaller companies
to continue to acquire better production technologies. Funds for the
oil and gas technologies programs are used to create new technologies
that help American independent producers increase recovery from existing
fields and pinpoint promising new oil and natural gas reserves with
the utmost environmental protection. Information concerning these
new technologies is made available to small producers in the field
through organizations such as the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council
(PTTC), the Stripper Well Consortium (SWC), and university research
centers such as the Center for Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering
at the University of Texas. Since independent companies drill 90%
of the nation's oil wells and produce 85% of its natural gas, these
vital DOE programs help secure domestic oil and natural gas jobs,
generate tax and royalty revenues to state and federal treasuries,
and ultimately translate into less reliance on foreign energy sources.
America's energy independence rests on the effectiveness and viability
of these DOE programs, and we believe that funding at last year's
level will continue to move America forward. Thank you for your consideration
of our request.
Copy of Letter Being Circulated in the Senate
The Honorable Pete V. Domenici The Honorable Harry M. Reid
Chairman Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Appropriations Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on Energy Subcommittee on Energy
and Water Appropriations and Water Appropriations
Washington DC 20510 Washington DC 20510
Dear Chairman Domenici and Senator Reid:
As you move forward within the next few weeks to formulate the Energy
and Water Appropriations bill for FY06, we strongly urge you to fund
the oil and gas technologies programs, housed within Fossil Energy,
the U.S. Department of Energy. Specifically, we urge you to fund these
important programs at last year's level of $78 million.
Full utilization of these oil and gas technologies programs at DOE
is essential if, as a nation, we are to achieve national energy independence.
In the past, these programs have provided a variety of functions,
primarily focusing on domestic exploration and production research
and development activities, resulting in sustaining and in most instances
increasing domestic oil and gas production.
Research and development activities conducted by the Department of
Energy laboratories, universities and the private sector have culminated
in the development of E&P techniques resulting in increased production,
with fewer wells, but in a more environmentally sensitive manner.
85% of the programs' focus is associated with activities of the independent
producer. Smaller companies drill 90% of the nation's oil wells and
produce 85% of its natural gas and 50% of U.S. oil. Typically, these
companies do not have access to the in-house technology capabilities
of the larger, integrated, multi-national oil companies. Federally
funded R&D is essential if for smaller companies to continue to
Federal research funds for the oil and gas technologies programs
are used to create new technologies that help American independent
producers increase recovery from existing fields and pinpoint promising,
new oil and natural gas reserves with the utmost environmental protection.
Information concerning these new technologies is made available to
the producer in the field, through conduits such as the Petroleum
Technology Transfer Council (PTTC), an organization that since the
mid-1990's has made new techniques information available to the producer
through regional workshops. The Stripper Well Consortium (SWC) conducts
both workshops and R&D activities, making available the latest
in technology applications for oil and gas drilling to the smallest
of producers. Production of more domestic oil and natural gas means
more jobs, more tax and royalty revenues to state and federal treasuries,
ultimately translating into less reliance on foreign energy sources.
Similarly important is the role that DOE's funding plays in the training
and development of qualified people for the oil and gas sector, the
lack of which continues to grow at an alarming rate. The DOE oil and
natural gas programs provide vital support to petroleum engineering
departments across the country. According to a letter dated April
4, 2005 from the University of Texas's Department of Petroleum and
Geosystems Engineering to the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Appropriations,
"our ability to retain the best faculty who are needed to train
Petroleum Engineers for the coming decades depends entirely on our
being able to provide research funding to the faculty." The letter
goes on to say, "Lacking this opportunity, there will not be
many viable petroleum engineering programs left in the U.S."
We again thank you for your interest in this matter and urge your
consideration of these most necessary and worthy of programs. America's
energy independence rests on the effectiveness and viability of these
programs, and we believe that funding at last year's level will continue
to move America, certainly from an energy independence perspective,
in the right direction
Alert prepared by Linda Rowan, AGI Director of Government Affairs
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI
Government Affairs Program.
Posted May 5, 2005