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House committee spars over fossil-fuel research

A hearing with the Department of Energy’s director of fossil energy research gave members of the House science committee a chance to argue about the values of different energy resources.

The DOE’s assistant secretary for fossil energy, Christopher Smith, told the energy subcommittee hearing that his department’s R&D program was exploring technology such as carbon capture that may make oil, gas and coal viable even as environmental regulations get stricter.

The White House requested $600 million for fossil energy research in its fiscal year 2017 budget proposal, $32m less than the program received in this year’s budget. The House appropriations committee voted to restore that funding.

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