June 29, 2007

Sen. Dorgan Tackles Nation's Energy Woes By Supporting Bill That Increases Basic Research Funding

Under the leadership of Sen. Bryon Dorgan, the Senate Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee approved a bill that would fund the Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC) about $5 billion for fiscal year 2008. The bill, which provides an increase of about $100 million more than President Bush’s request, paves the way to address national energy concerns such as developing ways to overcome the country’s reliance on foreign oil.

“The Energy and Water Appropriations bill is a strong investment in our nation’s infrastructure and energy-related research,” said Dorgan, chairman of the subcommittee, which took action on June 26.

At North Dakota State University, where chemistry professor John Hershberger conducts energy-related research, the news was met with great enthusiasm.

DOE funding for basic research has been roughly flat for a long time, and this is very important because it demonstrates a real commitment to basic research,” said Hershberger.

For the past decade, Hershberger has researched the kinetics of combustion chemistry with the goal of improving energy efficiency and reducing harmful carbon emissions from cars and power plants.

Michael S. Lubell, director of public affairs for the American Physical Society, said Dorgan’s bill addresses a critical issue in our society.

“The energy crisis – and it is a crisis – has been compared to the Manhattan Project and putting man on the moon. The science needed to solve the problem isn’t even as well understood. It’s going to take a major investment to solve the crisis. This bill sets the stage appropriately,” said Lubell.

For more information, contact John Hershberger, professor of chemistry at North Dakota State University, at 701-231-8225 or john.hershberger@ndsu.edu.

About APS

The American Physical Society is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents over 55,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, Maryland (Headquarters), Ridge, New York, and Washington, D.C.