Chairman Chuck Fleischmann’s Opening Statement at the First Energy and Water Subcommittee Hearing for the 118th Congress

Washington, DC – Today, Energy and Water Subcommittee Chairman Chuck Fleischmann delivered the following remarks about the Department of Energy’s fiscal year 2024 budget request. This was the first meeting of the Energy and Water Subcommittee of the 118th Congress. Chairman Fleischmann and subcommittee members heard testimony from Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.

“The hearing will come to order.

“It is my pleasure to welcome Secretary Jennifer Granholm to the Energy and Water Subcommittee this morning to discuss the fiscal year 2024 budget request for the Department of Energy.

“Madam Secretary, you well know that I strongly support the primary missions of your Department. Specifically – DOE, through the National Nuclear Security Administration, supports our nation’s defense through the maintenance of the nuclear weapons stockpile and through support of the nuclear Navy. DOE, through the Office of Science, remains the nation’s largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences.

“Numerous offices are tasked with working to develop new and improve existing energy sector technologies in support of an all-of-the-above energy independence strategy. The Department is responsible for the clean-up of the nation’s environmental legacy resulting from decades of nuclear weapons production and government-sponsored nuclear energy research.

“So, I was pleased to see strong funding for some of these missions in the fiscal year 2024 budget request. For example, the Weapons Activities account is increased, including an increase for the Uranium Processing Facility, critical for enriched uranium operations needed to support the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

“Unfortunately, I’m concerned about some of the priorities expressed in the budget request. For instance, the Administration has highlighted clean energy and climate change goals as key drivers of the budget request – yet the Nuclear Energy program is cut by 12% below enacted. Nuclear energy – a baseload, carbon-free source of electricity – will be essential in achieving any climate change goals, so it is difficult to understand such a large cut, especially as other programs see double- and triple-digit increases.

“A revitalized American nuclear industry also provides an additional energy export of geopolitical consequence, especially for countries seeking alternatives to Russian and Chinese entanglements. As such, I am particularly concerned that the Nuclear Energy budget includes only a modest increase for the Advanced Nuclear Fuel Availability program, which is working to advance the availability of high-assay low enriched uranium – or HALEU – necessary for fueling the next generation of advanced reactors.

“For the Office of Science – a program near and dear to my heart – the budget request proposes an increase of $700 million, or almost 9%. Yet that support pales in comparison to the $1.3 billion, or almost 40%, increase for energy efficiency and renewable energy activities. While I agree that both programs focus on important issues, I don’t agree with the significant difference in relative priority found in the budget request.

“Secretary Granholm, I appreciate you being here today to explain your budget request. I look forward to working together with you and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move forward a budget that will strengthen our national security and advance our energy independence.”

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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