US Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called for the Department of Energy’s continued support and investment in fuel cell and hydrogen energy programs. In a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Brown, Graham and 12 other senators urged continued funding for these two programs.
The letter said that fuel cells and hydrogen energy systems must continue to play an important role in US energy diversification. However, with the enactment of the Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11) Continuing Resolution, funding for DOE programs have been reduced by 5% for the remainder of the current fiscal year compared to the amount provided by Congress in FY10.
We are concerned...that further cuts to these two programs would inhibit the long-term diversification of our nation’s energy portfolio and stunt the development of American engineered and domestically-produced energy systems powered by hydrogen and fuel cells.
...we believe domestic manufacturers are on the verge of the full scale commercialization of fuel cell systems and hydrogen energy technologies in stationary, backup power and material handling equipment applications, thanks in part to the success of the Fuel Cell Technologies Program within the Office of Energy Efficient and Renewable Energy (EERE). In the case of mobile fuel cells, several auto manufacturers are planning for commercial fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) launches beginning in 2014-2015. This program is helping drive down the cost of fuel cell systems and hydrogen infrastructure, while familiarizing Americans with these new clean energy technologies.—Letter to Secretary Chu
In addition to Brown and Graham, other Senators signing the letter were: Joe Lieberman (ID-CT); Ron Wyden (D-OR); Max Baucus (D-MT); Patty Muray (D-WA); Charles Scumer (D-NY); Jon Tester (D-MT); Debbie Stabenow (D-MI); Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY); Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Maria Cantwell (D-WA); and Robert Casey Jr. (D-PA).