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Senators Say Funding Must Stay for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Programs

Every once in a while I write about the political issues surrounding the creation of hydrogen fuel cell cars and its supporting infrastructure. In June, 2010 I had talked about how U. S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) were fighting with the Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu about proposed multi-million dollar cuts to the hydrogen research budget.

Right now a Republican and a Democrat have taken up the mantle to urge the DOE to maintain funding for hydrogen and fuel cell programs. U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have sent a letter to Dr. Chu, signed off by 12 other U. S. Senators as well.

According to Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) President Ruth Cox, “We are grateful to Senators Brown and Graham, and their 12 distinguished colleagues from across the country, for this forceful message of support to preserve American jobs and leadership in the fuel cell and hydrogen energy industry.

“The disproportionate budget cuts proposed by the DOE would seriously undermine American competitiveness in this core clean energy technology—the last such technology in which the U.S. has a technical and manufacturing lead. Our industry is proud to be creating jobs as part of America’s growing clean energy economy, and we are even prouder that so many notable Senators are standing up to ensure fuel cells and hydrogen energy remain an integral component of our clean energy portfolio.”

To pull out my own political jargon for a bit, we are not just a collection of blue states and red states. We have the potential to be the United Green States. Green is the color of money during an economic recovery when jobs are created. Green is also the color of environmental protectionism.

By generating green jobs and consuming green products we can make good on both goals. What could be better than generating a large number of high-paying green jobs while protecting our air, water and land? And with the right leadership in Congress these goals are indeed do-able.

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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3 comments

  1. I am not the only one in disagreement with Dr.Chu!

  2. As a TEA Party guy this is one of those issues of what the role of the Fed should be in energy. Is it national security or just in the role of picking political winners and losers? The reality is Fed spending will be cut 40% so to stay closer to tax revenue so stuff like this will see money disappear even if it good and the right decision. How much money did Edison get from the government? Eli Whitney? If all Fed money was removed, the red tape and strings would be removed and that might be a good thing as long as the playing field is the same for everyone in the energy debate. Even libertarians waffle a bit on energy and the role the government should have in hydrogen, electric, etc.

  3. admin

    I had contacted former U. S. Senator Byron Dorgan about this blog post asking him if he thought hydrogen cars were a politically partisan issue and what the Federal government needed to do to aid rollout of H2 vehicles and here is his response:

    “Steve Chu however believes hydrogen and fuel cells are too far down the road, and as a result he is interested in moving funding to other technologies. I think he is wrong.

    “Second, the Congress needs to pass the an energy bill that incentivizes the roll out of hydrogen fueling stations. Our country needs to set a course that the private sector can believe in and invest in. So far that has not happened. I am hoping that this Congress may do that.

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