The Lab was a popular place last week, with both a senator and House Appropriations staff member visiting. Delaware Democratic Senator Chris Coons (left) stopped by to learn how national labs promote innovation and technology transfer, while Ben Hammond of the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations subcommittee explored programs at NCEM, NERSC, JBEI, JCAP, and BELLA. Both visitors took tours of the Advanced Light Source and Molecular Foundry, as well as met with senior leaders and scientists.
Posts Tagged ‘Government Relations’
Jake Oster, deputy chief of staff for Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont, first contacted the Lab in October to thank EETD researchers Jennifer Logue, Max Sherman, Iain Walker and Brett Singer for their report about the benefits of retrofitting homes. Oster is point person for the congressman’s efforts to move legislation to incentivize weatherization and other energy efficiency improvements. Last week, he visited the Lab to meet with Sherman, Walker and Alecia Ward, EETDs Lead for Program and Business Development.
As Congress and the Obama administration negotiate a spending plan for 2014, University of California leaders are urging that the repeal of sequestration be a top budget priority. A letter to California’s congressional delegation — signed by President Janet Napolitano and campus chancellors — describes the economic and human toll from the indiscriminate federal spending cuts. “Promising science is being delayed or terminated. Labs are being forced to lay off highly trained staff,” they write. “Perhaps most troubling, young researchers are questioning whether to pursue research careers because vital fellowships are threatened and it is taking increasingly longer for them to obtain their first independent research grants.” More>
Last week, Berkeley Lab physicist and Nobel-prize winner Saul Perlmutter testified before the Senate Commerce Committee at a hearing on the reauthorization of the America COMPETEs Act. The act was first passed in 2007, with broad bipartisan support that authorized the doubling of the budgets for the Office of Science and National Science Foundation within seven years. Although COMPETEs was reauthorized in 2010, the budgets of these science agencies have not kept pace with what the legislation established. Perlmutter testified that the current trends in science funding threaten the country’s competitiveness while the innovation in other countries is improving. Go here to watch the proceedings and to read the testimony of Perlmutter and other panelists.
Last Wednesday, Lab Deputy Director Horst Simon testified before the House of Representative Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy about the value of the national laboratories and the committee’s draft legislation that would reauthorize the Office of Science. Congressional staff are always looking for good acronyms and settled on naming the bill the EINSTEIN America Act (Enabling Innovation for Science, Technology, and Energy in America Act). Simon was joined on the witness panel by Acting Director of the Office of Science Pat Dehmer, and John Hemminger, the chair of BESAC and Vice Chancellor for Research at UC Irvine. Go here to read the testimony.
EETD scientist Marc Fischer was one of several experts to testify last week at an informational hearing on short-lived climate pollutants to the California Senate Select Committee on Climate Change and AB 32 Implementation. The landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB-32) requires California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Fischer described his group’s research showing that emissions of methane, an important short-lived climate pollutant, are likely larger than California’s inventory. Fischer also discussed methane’s potency as a greenhouse gas, its contribution to global tropospheric ozone pollution and options to mitigate emissions from agricultural and energy sectors. More>
Recently, U.S. Representative Barbara Lee and her key DC and Oakland staff toured Berkeley Lab along with Director Alivisatos and Don Medley, head of Federal Government Relations. The Congresswoman was briefed on LIGTT and batteries research, and was given a tour of the Advanced Light Source by ALS Director Roger Falcone. Congresswoman Lee is a strong supporter of the Lab, especially research into renewable sources of sustainable energy.
[New York Times] Lab Director Paul Alivisatos is among six leading scientists who proposed new approaches for mapping the brain, a project endorsed by the Obama administration. “Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy,” Obama said in his State of the Union address. “Today our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s. They’re developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs, devising new materials to make batteries 10 times more powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation.” More>
Venkat Srinivasan (right), an EERE researcher and the Lab’s top scientist for the new DOE Joint Center on Energy Storage and Research (JCESR), and the center’s director, Argonne’s George Crabtree, were in DC last week along with Don Medley, the Lab’s head of Federal Government Relations, to brief Congressional staff about the new partnership. JCESR’s goal of a five-fold gain in battery performance in five years impressed the staff. Offices visited included Bay Area members of Congress and Senate Appropriations Committees.
Last week, Berkeley Lab hosted California Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister (second from left). McAllister, a former energy analyst at Berkeley Lab, toured several of the Lab’s user facilities and received briefings on the latest research in energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage, grid integration and super computing. The California Energy Commission is the state’s primary energy policy, public interest scientific research and planning agency.