The $410 billion catchall government spending bill that Congress passed and president Obama signed last month includes more than $98 million in project earmarks for the U.S. Department of Energy, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan group that tracks government spending.
The group’s spreadsheet shows that Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the man many credit with inventing appropriations earmarks, led the Senate in total dollars for solo earmarks (defined as those he initiated himself, not those he merely joined with others in endorsing). Byrd’s total was $122.8 million.
When it comes to Energy Department earmarks, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, is the undisputed champion.
The top 10 DOE earmarks in the omnibus appropriation bill were:
- $5,709,000: North Dakota State University Computing Capability
- $4,757,500: Center for Nanoscale Energy (N.D.)
- $3,806,000: Fossil Fuel Research & Development (N.D.)
- $3,799,205: Renewable Energy Development Venture (Hawaii)
- $2,854,500: National Center for Hydrogen Technology (N.D.)
- $2,616,625: Antibodies Research (N.D.)
- $2,560,418: Nevada Virtual Renewable Energy Integration and Development Center (Nev.)
- $2,188,450: Bismarck State College Center of Excellence Laboratories (N.D.)
- $2,000,053: Energy and Environmental Research Center for Biomass Utilization (N.D.)
- A five-way tie at $1,903,000 each: Dueco Plug-In Hybrid Engines (Wisc.), Landfill Gas Utilization Plant (N.Y.), New School Green Building (N.Y.), Western Environmental Technology Office (Mont.), Center for Diagnostic Nanosystems (W.Va.)
—Kennedy Maize is executive editor of MANAGING POWER.