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ALERT: Geothermal Research Initiatives in Congress

(Posted 9-13-07)


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

IN A NUTSHELL: Funding for geothermal research and development was terminated in the fiscal year 2007 budget and no new funding has been requested by the Administration for fiscal year 2008. Congress, however, is working on legislation that would provide new funding for geothermal research and development.

Geoscientists with an interest in geothermal research are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the new legislation, follow the upcoming hearings on the bills and provide constructive comments, support and/or assistance to Congress as appropriate.

Funding for geothermal research and development (R&D) was terminated in the fiscal year 2007 budget and no new funding has been requested by the Administration for fiscal year 2008. Congress, however, is working on legislation that would provide new funding for geothermal research and development.

The House has introduced a bill entitled "Advanced Geothermal Energy Research and Development Act of 2007" (H.R. 2304), which "Instructs the Secretary of Energy to support research, development, demonstration, and commercial application programs to expand geothermal energy production from hydrothermal systems." The bill would appropriate $90 million per fiscal year from 2008 to 2012 for geothermal R&D. The measure also stipulates that $10 million per year must be spent on geothermal energy production from oil and gas fields.

The Senate has introduced a related bill, entitled "National Geothermal Initiative Act of 2007 (S.1543) whose stated purpose is "a national goal to achieve 20% of total electrical energy production in the United States from geothermal resources by 2030." The measure instructs the Energy Department to carry out geothermal R&D to achieve this goal and would appropriate $75 million in 2008 and $110 million annually from 2009 to 2012 plus necessary funds beyond 2012 for such work. The bill would also require the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct a survey of geothermal resources and would appropriate $15 million in 2008 and $25 million annually from 2009 to 2012 plus necessary funds beyond 2012 for such work.

The Senate will hold a hearing on their geothermal bill on September 26, 2007 at 10:00 am in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room SD-366. Witnesses will include Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the President of Iceland, Mark Myers, the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, Susan Petty from Alta Energy, David Wunsch, the State Geologist of New Hampshire and other geoscientists.

Geoscientists with an interest in geothermal research are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the new legislation, follow the upcoming hearings on the bills and provide constructive comments, support and/or assistance to Congress as appropriate.

Please contact Linda Rowan, Director of Government Affairs at the American Geological Institute (rowan@agiweb.org) if you need more information or assistance regarding this action alert.

More information about the bills is available from Thomas: thomas.loc.gov


Alert prepared by Linda Rowan, Government Affairs Staff

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

Posted September 13, 2007


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