I pressed Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Stephen Bodman for answers regarding the Department’s decision to cut Wyoming’s share of the 2009 energy budget at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

It is essential there is more support for clean coal technology, the FutureGen project, and Wyoming’s Rocky Mountain Oilfield Testing Center.

Wyoming is a national leader in terms of coal, oil, natural gas, uranium, and wind production. A reduction of this magnitude in a state with enormous energy potential is totally unacceptable.

The DOE budget proposal would eliminate funding for the Cooperative Research and Development program which supports federal, industry, and research endeavors. It is a joint program with the Western Research Institute, located in Laramie, and the University of Wyoming.

By all accounts, this program is a success story in terms of research, leveraging private funds, and obtaining commercial patents and technologies. It makes no sense to walk away from this endeavor.

I will be submitting formal questions to the Department of Energy. If it were me, I would start by knowing what a program accomplishes before taking an axe to it indiscriminately. Instead of providing more money to promote successful research in a proven program, the Department seems to be advocating the exact opposite.