OG&P: Government has legitimate role in oil, gas R&D, House panel told
A continued government role in oil and gas research and development drew bipartisan support at a May 3 hearing of the US House Science, Space, and Technology subcommittee. But Democrats and Republicans disagreed about the scope and direction of US Department of Energy programs that they were defending.
Members generally agreed with witnesses at the hearing that well-funded, early-stage government energy R&D programs can help produce energy technology breakthroughs, even when they are not apparent at the outset.
“DOE is best suited to provide the early stage research that allows industry the opportunity to commercialize and use new technology in the field,” said Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.). “This approach allows for the most cost-effective and efficient technology to be deployed by oil and gas companies.”
Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-Tex.) suggested, “As we approach budget season, it’s our job as an authorizing committee to make sure we have a clear picture of what federal research investments provide the most bang for our buck.”
Weber said, “We know that industry has the skills and resources to fund technology commercialization. But they often don’t have the tools to conduct early-stage research and maintain historical data like the DOE national labs can.”…….
Study environmental impacts
Marc Veasey (D-Tex.), the subcommittee’s ranking minority member, said, “This area of research requires a strong partnership between government and industry to begin mitigating the environmental impacts of fossil-energy generation. DOE’s work in this space is vital to our environmental priorities.”
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex.), the full committee’s ranking minority member, also called for a strong DOE energy R&D emphasis on mitigating environmental consequences. “My hope is that the outcome of these hearings will be to push the present administration to reconsider its position to drastically reduce R&D funding for fossil energy.”