Fermi National Laboratory

Orbach Cites "21st Century Challenges,"
Domenici Criticizes Flat Funding
in Senate's FY05 Budget Hearing

Dr. Raymond Orbach, Director of the Department of Energy's Office of Science, on Thursday told the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water that the $3.4 billion budget request for FY05 "will set us on the path toward addressing the challenges that face our nation in the 21st Century," though the package for the Office of Science represents a $68.5 million decrease from the FY 2004 appropriation levels.

Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) opened the hearing by expressing his disappointment in flat funding for basic science research at DOE, which has, according to the chairman, "not kept pace with funding at the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation." Ranking Member Harry Reid (D-NV) concurred with the Chairman in his opening remarks, adding his specific disappointment in the decreased funding request for the Office Science. Reid also said decreased funding in research only stands to hurt the U.S. in the long run.

Also testifying were David Garman, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; and William D. Magwood, IV, Director of the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology. The Subcommittee hearing was its first on FY05 budget requests for the DOE offices under its jurisdiction. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Larry Craig (R-ID) were also in attendance.

Dr. Orbach divided his testimony between outlining specific funding requests for Office of Science programs and highlighting the recently released "Facilities for the Future of Science: A Twenty-Year Outlook," a roadmap for DOE's scientific priorities. Only one comment and one question were directed at Dr. Orbach from the Committee; the comment, by Chairman Domenici, lauded Dr. Orbach on the success of the "Future of Science" publication, and the question, from Senator Murray, inquired as to the status of high level nuclear waste cleanup at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The remaining questions were directed at Mr. Magwood in regard to the future of nuclear energy, specifically in comparison to progress in other nations.

Chairman Domenici concluded the hearing by remarking that the inability of the US to figure out a way to dispose of high-level nuclear waste is one of science and technology's most astounding failures.

The full written testimony of the three witnesses may be found at: http://appropriations.senate.gov/hearmarkups/topics.cfm?code=hearings

The "Future of Science" document may be found at: http://www.sc.doe.gov/Sub/Facilities_for_future/facilities_future.htm

last modified 3/5/2004   email Fermilab