The Bush administration’s proposal to repeal fiscal year 2008 funding for deepwater oil and natural gas research and development (R&D) met with resistance Wednesday from lawmakers on a House Science subcommittee.

President Bush’s FY 2008 budget for the Department of Energy (DOE) calls for repeal of the Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Resources research program mandated by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct).

The administration believes the current environment of lofty oil and natural gas prices will allow energy companies to pick up the burden of investment in this area, said Thomas D. Shope, deputy assistant secretary for fossil energy at DOE, during a hearing of the House Science Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.

Subcommittee Chairman Nick Lampson (D-TX) said he was “particularly disappointed” to see that, for the second year in a row, the administration insists on ignoring EPAct by failing to carry out “vital” R&D into ultra-deepwater and unconventional drilling technologies. “This illustrates a fundamental misunderstanding both of what the program is intended to do and the need to expand domestic resources of fossil fuels.”

Lampson said the proposed repeal was “foolish,” and added that “I don’t expect Congress to rescind that law,” the Wall Street Journal reported. Ralph Hall (R-TX) echoed similar sentiments, saying that “I think we are going to defeat the bill sent over here” by the Bush administration seeking to repeal oil and gas research funding, it noted.

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