House Appropriations Committee Backs Full FY 2008 DOE Science Request

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Publication date: 
12 June 2007
Number: 
60

The House Appropriations Committee has approved its version of the FY 2008 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill and sent it to the House floor for consideration later this week. Under this bill, H.R. 2641, the Bush Administration's request for the Office of Science for the upcoming fiscal year was fully funded.

An advance copy of the report (110-185) accompanying the bill sets forth the recommendations of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee. The subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-IN); the Ranking Minority Member is Rep. David Hobson (R-OH). Portions of this report follow (note that there is minor variance in numbers):

OVERALL OFFICE OF SCIENCE:

According to the committee report, the FY 2007 appropriation for the Office of Science is $3,797.3 million.
The Bush Administration requested $4,397.9 million.
The House Appropriations Committee would provide $4,514.1 million, an increase of 18.9 percent or $716.8 million over this fiscal year.

The report states:

"The Committee is generally pleased with the Department's budget request for the Office of Science in fiscal year 2008. This request for a 15.8 percent increase is the major incremental increase planned within the overall 10-year doubling of funding for these activities in DOE. A critical element of this increase is the support it will provide for 3,500 more research personnel, including graduate students. This addresses a major concern for the future of the United States economy, namely the availability of highly educated scientists and engineers to support the technical innovations that drive economic growth.

"The fiscal year 2008 request fully funds operating time at most existing DOE user facilities and equal or increased operating time at several others. The request supports investments in major new research facilities such as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, the Linac Coherent Light Source, and the 12 GeV upgrade to the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility, along with project engineering and design for the National Synchrotron Light Source II. . . . "

"The Committee has several areas of concern. First, despite the large increase in funding, insufficient funds are proposed to fulfill the various landlord functions of the Office of Science. The considerable backlog of World War II vintage buildings cluttering the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is an example. Second, growth in the estimated cost for the International Linear Collider (ILC) means that the schedule for this major high energy physics facility, which the United States aspires to host, will be delayed. Implementation of the Dark Energy Mission without further delay can provide significant intellectual progress on the question of dark energy while further study is done on the ILC. Third, not all user facilities can be retained as new cutting-edge capabilities come on line, and some hard choices must be made. Fourth, while total funding for Fusion Energy Sciences increases significantly, the large increase to fund the U.S. contribution to the International Thermonuclear Energy Reactor (ITER) results in an increase to the domestic fusion research program that is only slightly above the rate of inflation and far smaller than the percentage increases for most other research areas. The Committee recommends some shifts in funding and priority from those proposed by the Administration to address these concerns.

"The Committee is disturbed by the lack of energy research and development coordination across the Office of Science, the applied energy programs - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Nuclear Energy, Fossil Energy, and Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability - and the extensive funding through Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD). The Department is directed to establish effective coordination mechanisms across these research efforts. The Committee recommends that LDRD emphasize advanced energy technologies.

"The Committee recommendation is $4,514,082,000, an increase of $116,206,000 from the budget request and $716,788,000 over the fiscal year 2007 enacted level. The Committee disapproves of the transfer of certain security functions to the Office of Science from the Office of Security as proposed by the Department, and this removes funding for these functions from the Science budget. Funding for these functions is provided under Other Defense Activities."

HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS:

The FY 2007 current operating plan budget for High Energy Physics is $751.8 million.
The Bush Administration requested $782.3 million.
The House Appropriations Committee would provide the full request, an increase of 4.1 percent or $30.5 million over this fiscal year.

The report states:

"The Committee recommends a total of $782,238,000 for high energy physics, the same as the budget request. The Committee supports the requested increase in research and development activities, from $30,000,000 to $60,000,000, to prepare for the International Linear Collider (ILC), including detailed studies of possible U.S. sites for the ILC.

"Over the past few years, the Committee has consistently supported the DOE/NASA Joint Dark Energy Mission (JDEM), a space probe to help answer the fundamental physics question of our time on the nature of the 'dark energy' that constitutes the majority of the universe. Answering this question is among the top priorities of the physics community and of the Office of Science, and the Committee strongly believes that this initiative should move forward. DOE has done its part, developing the SuperNova Acceleration Probe (SNAP) as the DOE mission concept for JDEM. Unfortunately, NASA has failed to budget and program for launch services for JDEM. Furthering this delay, the Administration has set up a panel to decide which scientific mission should go first in NASA's queue of after Einstein space science missions.

"The situation with regard to JDEM raises critical science policy questions. Are scientific activities supported in the United States according the missions and interests of different agencies or according to the technology involved? DOE support for JDEM is predicated on the science priorities of High Energy Physics. The Administration's insistence that this mission be held hostage to NASA's mission agenda sends the clear signal that space science is the purview of NASA regardless of the scientific questions to be addressed. If space science is the special preserve of NASA within the U.S. Government, then all funding for such missions should he provided by NASA and the Dark Energy Mission should proceed on that basis with NASA providing the funding for all work at DOE national laboratories selected by NASA for participation.

"The Committee notes that NASA funds ground-based telescopes and that NSF funds a particle accelerator. Therefore, use of space technology by DOE to accomplish a mission that is a priority for its high energy physics program should proceed regardless of its priority to another agency. The Committee directs the Department to select, using competitive procedures, a mission science team and approach as soon as possible and proceed with a dark energy mission with a launch in fiscal year 2013. As part of this, the Committee directs DOE to explore other launch options, including cooperative international approaches and the procurement of private launch services, to get the Dark Energy Mission into space. DOE is to proceed with its project implementation in compliance with Project Management Order 413.3. Additional funding in fiscal year 2008 for proceeding with the Dark Energy Mission should be no more than $20,000,000 above the $3,500,000 requested for work by the SNAP team and should be taken from other lower-priority areas within High Energy Physics.

"The control level is at the High Energy Physics level."

NUCLEAR PHYSICS:

The FY 2007 current operating plan budget for Nuclear Physics is $422.8 million.
The Bush Administration requested $471.3 million.
The House Appropriations Committee would provide the full request, an increase of 11.5 percent or $48.5 million over this fiscal year.

The report states:

"The Committee recommendation for nuclear physics is $471,319,000, the same as the budget request. The requested funding will support operations of the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. The requested funding will continue construction of the Electron Beam Ion Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory (project 07-SC-02) and the PED for the 12 GeV upgrade to the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (project 06-SC-01).

"The nuclear physics community has proposed a shift in its priorities for future facilities to provide rare isotope beams. Specifically, the fiscal year 2008 request includes $4,000,000 for research and development activities aimed at development of rare isotope beam capabilities. The Rare Isotope Beams (RIB) will involve modifications to existing accelerators rather than the construction of a new Rare Isotope Accelerator (RIA). This approach is projected to achieve much of the science planned for RIA but at significantly reduced cost. The Committee commends the nuclear physics research community for its constructive approach."

BASIC ENERGY SCIENCES:

The FY 2007 current operating plan budget for Basic Energy Sciences is $1,250.3 million.

The Bush Administration requested $1,498.5 million.
The House Appropriations Committee would provide the full request, an increase of 19.9 percent or $248.2 million over this fiscal year.

The report states:

"The Committee recommendation for basic energy sciences is $1,498,497,000, the same as the budget request and an increase of $248,247,000 over the current fiscal year. For purposes of reprogramming during fiscal year 2008, the Department may allocate funding among all operating accounts within Basic Energy Sciences, consistent with the reprogramming guidelines outlined earlier in this report.

"Research. - The Committee recommendation includes $1,093,219,000 for materials sciences and engineering, and $283,956,000 for chemical sciences, geosciences, and energy biosciences. The Committee recommendation funds operations of the five Nanoscale Science Research Centers, operations of the Advanced Light Source, the Advanced Photon Source, the National Synchrotron Light Source, the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, the Intense Pulsed Neutron Source, and the Manuel Lujan, Jr. Neutron Scattering Center at their full optimal numbers of hours, additional instrumentation for the recently-completed Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), and the science research portion ($59,500,000) of the hydrogen initiative at the requested levels. Given the long-term nature of hydrogen as an energy transfer medium, with timescales for deployment similar to those for fusion energy, funding for hydrogen research in the Office of Science is particularly appropriate. The Committee previously directed the National Nuclear Security Administration to make available, from existing stocks, sufficient heavy water to meet SNS needs, and the committee renews this direction for fiscal year 2008. Also included within this account is $8,240,000 for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the same as the budget request.

"Given the dismal operating record of the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) in fiscal year 2006 with 89.5% unscheduled downtime and the lack of major research accomplishments from its operation, the Committee will be watching to see that the steps taken by DOE to put HFIR back on track are successful.

"Construction. - The Committee recommendation includes $121,322,000 for Basic Energy Sciences construction projects, the same as the requested amount. The Committee recommendation provides the requested funding of: $51,356,000 to continue construction of the Linac Coherent Light Source (05-R-320) at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center; $366,000 to complete construction of the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (05-R-321) at Brookhaven National Laboratory; $45,000,000 for continued project engineering and design of the National Synchrotron Light Source II (07-8C-06) at Brookhaven National Laboratory; $17,200,000 for construction of the Advanced Light Source User Support Building (08-8C-01) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; $950,000 for PED of the Photon Ultrafast Laser Science (08-8C-10) and Engineering Building Renovation at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center; and $6,450,000 to begin renovation of the Photon Ultrafast Laser Science and Engineering Building Renovation (08-SC-11) at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.

"Given the extremely poor record of the Department in correctly estimating and controlling costs for major projects, particularly construction, the Committee compliments the Office of Science for completing the Spallation Neutron Source almost on schedule and almost on budget."

FUSION ENERGY SCIENCES:

The FY 2007 current operating plan budget for Fusion Energy Sciences is $319.0 million

The Bush Administration requested $427.9 million.
The House Appropriations Committee would provide the full request, an increase of 34.1 percent or $108.9 million over this fiscal year.

The report states:

"The Committee recommendation for fusion energy sciences is $427,850,000, the same as the budget request, and $108,900,000 above the previous year reflecting the $100,000,000 growth in the budget for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER).

"The Committee does not support funding for a new program in High Energy Density Physics and provides no funds for this research area. The Committee directs that the $12,281,000 requested for High Energy Density Physics be used to increase funding for the following: $7,500,000 for facility operations at the three U.S. user facilities - the DIlI-D, Alcator C-Mod, and National Spherical Torus Experiment, $1,500,000 for Theory, $1,500,000 for materials research within Enabling R&D, and $1,781,000 for Alternative Concept Experimental Research.

"The Committee notes that major growth in support for ITER, with an additional increase in this support of $54,500,000 planned for fiscal year 2009, is affecting the overall funding picture for Fusion Energy Sciences and for the Office of Science as a whole. When direct funding for ITER is excluded, Fusion Energy Sciences increases by just 3.8 percent and the increase requested for the Office of Science, while still large, is 13.4 percent rather than 15.8 percent. If delays in ITER associated with international cooperation reduce the amount that can be spent on ITER in fiscal year 2008, the Committee directs the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences to invest the funds made available in Theory, materials research within Enabling R&D, Alternative Concept Experimental Research and operating time at the three U.S. user facilities rather than retaining the money for ITER and carrying it over to future fiscal years."

BIOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH:

The FY 2007 current operating plan budget for Biological and Environmental Research is $483.5 million.
The Bush Administration requested $531.9 million.
The House Appropriations Committee would provide $581.9 million, an increase of 20.1 percent or $98.4 million over this fiscal year.

The report states:

"The Committee notes that this area of the Office of Science encompasses two distinct research efforts: using biology to address energy production and environmental remediation and a combination of climate and ecosystem modeling, field research, and radiation monitoring as part of the Climate Change Research Program. Funding is provided in separate subaccounts for these two efforts and this practice should be used in future fiscal years."

Biological Research - "The Committee recommendation for Biological Research is $423,773,000, an increase of $30,000,000 above the budget request. The increase is provided for the Life Sciences component of Biological Research and is to be used to expand research efforts to develop new strategies for biofuels and sequestration of carbon, both important in addressing climate change. All of the added funds must be awarded competitively in solicitations that include all sources - universities, the private sector, and government laboratories - on an equal basis.

"The Committee applauds the use of genomics to address multiple areas associated with energy production including hydrogen and ethanol. The competitive selection of the Genomes to Life Bioenergy Research Centers is a major progressive step, and the Committee hopes that the Department will not confine its research in this area to just a few major centers but will complement these centers with an extensive program of competitive research grants to university, government laboratory and for-profit and not-for-profit private sector researchers."

Climate Change Research - "The Committee recommendation for Climate Change Research is $158,124,000, an increase of $20,000,000 above the budget request. The increase is provided for enhanced climate modeling to take advantage of the advanced computing resources of the Department. The Committee is providing this increase to accelerate progress toward horizontal spatial resolutions of 10 kilometers. When this finer resolution is achieved, models should resolve local phenomena that punctuate the climate, such as severe storms with their intense precipitation and ability to transform the local landscape.

"The Climate Change Research Program at DOE is a collection of small efforts within the overall, multi-agency effort to understand and better predict climate change. This approach may prove inefficient in terms of research management and coordination and will be successful only if the extensive coordination of the Climate Change Research Program across multiple agencies, which has been a hallmark of this effort since its inception in the late 1980s, is continued. Long-term, ground-based monitoring of the environment is generally the province of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), while the long term ecological research sites are supported through the National Science Foundation (NSF). Climate modeling at DOE benefits from the Department's preeminence in scientific computing, but climate modeling is also done by groups sponsored by NSF, NOAA, and NASA. The Committee is concerned that with the static budget for Climate Change Research and the true intellectual excitement of the other research areas in the Office of Science, climate change research is not a priority nor a unique expertise of the Department. Given the need for detailed understanding and predictions at local and regional scales to guide responses to climate change, it is time for the Department to make this area a priority."

ADVANCED SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING RESEARCH:

The FY 2007 current operating plan budget for Advanced Scientific Computing Research is $283.5 million.
The Bush Administration requested $340.2 million.
The House Appropriations Committee would provide the full request, an increase of 20.0 percent or $56.7 million over this fiscal year.

The report states:

"The Committee recommendation is $340,198,000, the same as the budget request and an increase of $56,783,000 over the current fiscal year. The Committee commends the Office of Science and the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research for their efforts to provide cutting-edge capabilities to meet current scientific computational needs, and at the same time to extend the boundaries of that cutting edge into the next generation of high-performance scientific computers and supporting software. Perhaps no other area of research at the Department is so critical to sustaining U.S. leadership in science and technology, revolutionizing the way science is done, and improving research productivity."