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Perlmutter Leads Colleagues in Urging for Robust Funding for National Labs
Washington, D.C. – This week U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), Bill Foster (IL-11) and Derek Kilmer (WA-06) led 20 of their colleagues in a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting $30.5 billion for the Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories in upcoming infrastructure investments. The $30.5 billion will match President Biden’s proposal for DOE National Laboratories funding in the American Jobs Plan.
DOE maintains a network of 17 National Laboratories which lead the country in science, technology, energy, environmental and national security research and advancements, including playing a critical role in tackling climate change and reducing global emissions. Many of these DOE facilities suffer from a maintenance backlog and aging infrastructure, and a significant investment is necessary to repair and modernize these facilities.
In part, the letter reads:
More than 40,000 researchers from academia, industry, and other federal agencies use these unique, world-leading facilities to support their scientific pursuits. During the COVID-19 crisis, our National Labs have provided their expertise and facilities to help overcome the COVID-19 challenge, including the use of DOE’s supercomputers to search for treatments and vaccine therapies, X-ray light sources to understand the virus and identify potential vulnerabilities, and advanced manufacturing expertise to address the shortage of personal protective equipment and ventilators.
Across the DOE National Laboratory complex, there are $30.5 billion in shovel-read infrastructure projects – from utility upgrades to new state of the art research facilities. Our National Labs suffer from a maintenance backlog from decades of underfunding that puts the labs’ successful and efficient execution of their mission at risk. The average age of DOE facilities is 37 years and the average age of the systems that support these facilities (e.g., water, sewage, electrical, roads) is 40 years.
A dedicated, focused investment would go a long way toward recapitalizing and modernizing National Lab infrastructure and would immediately support thousands of high-quality, good-paying jobs. Investing in our National Lab infrastructure would foster safe, efficient, reliable and environmentally responsible operations, boost morale of the scientific and engineering workforce at the National Labs and demonstrate our nation’s continued commitment to maintaining the world’s best scientific infrastructure.
To read the full letter, click here.
Rep. Perlmutter represents Colorado’s 7th Congressional district which is home to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the world’s premier lab on the forefront of energy efficiency and developing clean and renewable energy technologies.
Rep. Foster represents the 11th Congressional District of Illinois, which includes Argonne National Laboratory. Before serving in Congress, he spent over two decades as a high-energy particle physicist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois.
Rep. Kilmer represents Washington’s sixth congressional district, which is home to the Marine and Coastal Research Laboratory (MCRL), the U.S. Department of Energy’s only marine research facility. MCRL, located at PNNL-Sequim, conducts marine-based research that is focused on helping the nation achieve sustainable energy, a sustaining environment, and coastal security.