Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | August 4, 2008

Attorney Sanders says House science committee wants more information of US DOE and FutureGen’s $173 million clean coal project.

The House Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN), Subcommittee on Energy and Environment Chairman Nick Lampson (D-TX), and Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight Chairman Brad Miller (D-NC) sent a letter to Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman requesting further materials related to the termination of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) participation in a cooperative agreement with the FutureGen Industrial Alliance.  The Committee is requesting the materials by Monday, August 18th

The Committee has been attempting to determine the basis of the decision to terminate DOE’s participation in the FutureGen project.  The House Committee on Science and Technology has jurisdiction over all the civilian research and development programs of the Department of Energy, and was not consulted by the Department regarding this decision. 

The Committee sent the first request for documents in a letter dated April 2, 2008.  On June 26, 2008, the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight held a business meeting to discuss issuing a subpoena, but a last-minute promise from White House Counsel to Subcommittee Chairman Miller to produce the documents averted a subpoena being authorized. 

The Committee has reviewed those documents, as well as all the other materials provided by the Department, and determined that DOE began its decision-making process about withdrawing from the FutureGen project much earlier than originally thought.  The additional materials sought by the Committee should shed light on the Department’s decision-making and management of this program.

On January 30th, when the termination was made public, Chairman Gordon said:  “For five years the Administration has touted the prospective benefits of FutureGen, and Congress has provided funds to move this project forward.  Over this time period Congress has allocated $173 million in taxpayer dollars to this program.  Now, we hear through the rumor mill that DOE may be abandoning this program at a time when the U.S. should be investing heavily in carbon-neutral energy technologies.”

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