January 2, 2001
President-elect Bush nominates outgoing Senator Spencer Abraham (R-Michigan) as Secretary of Energy.
January 17, 2001
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announces plans to build the second largest wind power facility in the United States on part of DOE's Nevada Test Site. The MNS Wind Company will build and operate the wind farm on 664 acres of the test site.
January 17, 2001
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members decide to cut oil production quotas by 1.5 million barrels per day. Although displeased with the cuts, Secretary Richardson says that OPEC members have been dissuaded from making even deeper cuts.
January 18, 2001
Secretary of Energy-designate Abraham appears at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Following the hearing, the committee approves the nomination by a unanimous voice vote.
January 19, 2001
The Department announces that DOE, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), and the University of California have agreed on new management and operations contracts for the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories. The move expands and strengthens the contracts' requirements and extends the contracts for a three-year period.
January 19, 2001
Outgoing Secretary Richardson issues a temporary emergency order, pursuant to provisions of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 and the Defense Production Act of 1950, requiring certain natural gas suppliers to provide gas to California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). Some gas suppliers had cut off service or threatened to cut off service to PG&E because of concerns about the company's financial stability.
January 20, 2001
George W. Bush becomes the 43rd president of the United States. Secretary of Energy-designate Abraham and six other cabinet nominees are confirmed as a group by the Senate in one voice vote. Following the Inaugural Parade, Abraham is sworn in as the tenth Secretary of Energy.
January 22, 2001
In one of his first actions on his first official day of work at DOE, Secretary Abraham greets departmental employees and contractors via electronic mail. He tells them that he is "honored to serve as the 10th Secretary of Energy" and looks forward to meeting them in the days and months ahead. He attaches a copy of his testimony at the confirmation hearing and states that as he has learned more about the Department he has come "to appreciate the dedicated and talented employees that serve our nation in this important mission."
January 23, 2001
Secretary Abraham issues a two-week extension of emergency orders requiring energy suppler to provide natural gas and electricity supplies to California utility companies. The extension is granted at the request of California Governor Gray Davis in order to provide sufficient time for California to complete actions on steps designed to restore the financial health of the utility companies and develop other sufficient sources of energy. Secretary Abraham and Governor Davis agree that no further extensions will be necessary. Secretary Abraham notes that, while the federal government has provided help to the state, only the state of California can implement the policies necessary to resolve its short term as well as its long term energy supply challenges.
January 29, 2001
President Bush states that he is "deeply concerned" that the economic fallout from the California power crisis will spread beyond the state's borders. He promises that his administration will "act boldly and swiftly" to bolster the nation's long-term energy supplies. The President establishes the Energy Policy Development Group, a task force to be chaired by Vice President Richard B. Cheney. Members of the group include Secretary Abraham and other cabinet and senior policy officials. The group is to develop a "national energy policy designed to help the private sector, and government at all levels, promote dependable, affordable, and environmentally sound production and distribution of energy for the future." DOE is designated as the primary agency supporting the group.
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February 2, 2001
At a meeting in Portland, Oregon, governors of some of the western states hardest hit by the expanding power crisis ask the Bush administration to set temporary price caps for wholesale electricity. Secretary Abraham says that he has "grave concerns" about a price cap, noting that a price cap would be a disincentive to building more power plants.
February 6, 2001
As part of the new "Power Plant Improvement Initiative" targeted at advanced clean coal technologies, DOE issues a solicitation offering $95 million in federal matching funds for projects that demonstrate ways operators can boost the electricity produced by their power plants or that help the plants meet more stringent environmental standards. Congress added the money for this project to DOE's budget in fall 2000 when signs of power reliability problems began to surface.
February 26, 2001
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) and other Senate Republican leaders introduce an energy bill that will provide billions of dollars of tax incentives and spending to boost domestic energy production and allow oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Secretary Abraham commends Senator Murkowski for "moving forward quickly in offering legislation to address this important subject" and states that the Administration looks "forward to working with the Congress to take action together to set the country's energy policy."
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March 1, 2001
Secretary Abraham announces that DOE will provide $125.7 million for winterizing, cold standby, and worker transition programs related to the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Facility. The announcement fulfills a commitment made by President Bush following the United States Enrichment Corporation's public notice that it would close the Portsmouth, Ohio, facility.
March 6, 2001
Secretary Abraham formally establishes the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, a two million barrel reserve of government-owned heating oil to be used in cases of extreme circumstances of weather or threat to life. Congress authorized the reserve in November 2000 when it amended the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 2000.
March 8, 2001
On his first foreign trip, Secretary Abraham attends the 5th Hemispheric Energy Initiative Ministerial Conference in Mexico. Following the first-ever trilateral meeting of energy ministers from the United States, Mexico, and Canada, Secretary Abraham, Mexican Energy Secretary Ernesto Martens, and Canadian Energy Minister Ralph Goodale announce the formation of a North American Energy Working Group to begin developing a comprehensive energy strategy. Secretaries Abraham and Martens also announce the activation of the Electricity Working Group to facilitate enhanced cross-border electricity trade between Mexico and the United States.
March 13, 2001
In a letter to four Republican senators, President Bush states that he does not favor the government imposing on power plants "mandatory emissions reductions" for carbon dioxide. He tells the senators that a recent report by DOE's Energy Information Agency has concluded that including caps on carbon dioxide emissions as part of a multiple emissions strategy would lead to a further shift from coal to natural gas for electric power generation and significantly higher electricity prices.
March 14, 2001
John A. Gordon, administrator of DOE's NNSA, announces an organization plan designed to improve performance of the core mission to strengthen national security and reduce the global threat from weapons of mass destruction through applications of science and technology. "I commend Administrator Gordon for taking these initial steps to reorganize the NNSA," Secretary Abraham notes. "The NNSA's vital national security missions require the best possible management and organization, and I look forward to continuing to work with General Gordon to ensure the success of these important goals."
March 17, 2001
OPEC members decide to cut oil production quotas by an additional one million barrels per day. Secretary Abraham calls the decision "disappointing." OPEC's decision, he observes, "demonstrates the importance of increasing America's domestic production and developing a national energy policy that will ensure a stable, reliable, affordable and diverse supply of energy."
March 19, 2001
Secretary Abraham delivers his first major policy speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce National Energy Summit in Washington, D.C. He outlines the challenges America faces in solving its "energy crisis" and presents highlights from an interim report that he and other members of the National Energy Policy Development Group submit to President Bush in a meeting later that day. "The failure to meet this challenge will threaten our nation's economic prosperity, compromise our national security, and literally alter the way we live our lives," Secretary Abraham says. "This Administration is fully prepared to face this dire situation, which we inherited, by developing something this country hasn't seen in years — a comprehensive, long-term national energy policy." He adds that the national energy policy will be "hemispheric and balanced" and will "stress the need to diversify America's energy supply. It will be founded on the understanding that diversity of supply means security of supply and that a broad mix of supply options — from coal to windmills, nuclear to natural gas — will help protect consumers against price spikes and supply disruptions."
March 29, 2001
Secretary Abraham, in a meeting with officials from companies supplying electricity to California, tells them that he expects them to take steps now to minimize chances of a power supply shortage this summer.
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April 9, 2001
Secretary Abraham releases DOE's Fiscal Year 2002 budget request to Congress, calling it an "important first step and prudent transition setting a course toward comprehensive change and reform as the department looks to the future." The 2002 request is virtually the same as the final 2001 DOE appropriation level, and an increase over the Clinton Administration's 2001 request of $18.9 billion and its 2000 request of $17.8 billion. Of DOE's four "business lines," National Security is $7.2 billion, up 2.6 percent from 2001; Energy Resources is $2.3 billion, down 7.9 percent; Environmental Quality is $6.5 billion, down 3.6 percent; and Science and Technology is $3.2 billion, up 0.1 percent.
April 12, 2001
The Department completes action on a 60-day review of two energy conservation and efficiency regulations, one governing clothes washers, and another governing water heaters. DOE declares that the new regulations will result in "savings to consumers, greater environmental stewardship, and power and water conservation for the country."
April 13, 2001
The Department proposes a new 12/12 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ration (SEER) standard for central air conditioners and heat pumps to increase the energy efficiency of those systems by 20 percent and minimize costs to consumers.
April 13, 2001
In letters to members of Congress and the California state legislature, Secretary Abraham stresses the constructive actions the Bush Administration has taken to help California address the electricity crisis. The only thing the Administration has opposed, the Secretary notes, is the "imposition of price controls because they would not prevent blackouts and would drive away the new supply California and the West so badly need."
April 19-20, 2001
Secretary Abraham visits DOE offices and facilities in New Mexico, including the Albuquerque Operations Office and the Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories.
April 25, 2001
Secretary Abraham orders a thorough and comprehensive review of the Fast Flux Text Facility (FFTF) at Hanford, which includes an initial 90-day review of all information that might be relevant to a decision on the future of the FFTF, as well as a review of expressions of interests by public and private groups to commercially operate the facility. DOE in November 2000 had decided to close the FFTF permanently.
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May 1, 2001
Secretary Abraham establishes an Energy Emergency Task Force within DOE to respond "quickly and appropriately" to any energy emergencies that may occur during the summer.
May 3, 2001
Following a meeting with his energy advisors, President Bush announces that he is directing the federal government to set an example for the rest of the country by taking immediate steps to conserve energy and reduce peak load at its facilities. Secretary Abraham notes that he is traveling to California to meet with the governor and representatives of federal facilities in the state.
May 4, 2001
Secretary Abraham meets in San Francisco with federal government officials to determine ways federal agencies in California can reduce energy demand to help relieve the energy crisis in the state and avert a potential summer electricity shortage.
May 7, 2001
The Department's Energy Information Administration issues its short-term energy outlook, estimating that average gasoline prices will be even higher than the previous summer's record highs. "These findings reaffirm the need to develop additional sources of energy while building and maintaining the necessary infrastructure to move those supplies to the market," notes Secretary Abraham. "The U.S. is far too energy-dependent on foreign resources and our refineries are increasingly strained. Until we take steps to address these problems, we will continue to experience volatility in energy markets and higher prices passed on to consumers at the gas pump."
May 14, 2001
Secretary Abraham and European Union Commissioner for Research Philippe Busquin sign agreements to conduct joint research in the areas of fusion energy and non-nuclear energy. The non-nuclear science agreement is the first major legally binding agency-to-agency agreement signed under the 1997 U.S./European Union Government-to-Government Science and Technology Agreement. It covers a wide range of potential cooperation in fossil energy, renewable energy, and energy efficiency with an immediate focus on fuel cell technology and carbon sequestration.
May 17, 2001
President Bush releases the National Energy Policy (NEP) developed by his energy task force chaired by Vice President Cheney. NEP urges actions to meet five specific national goals: modernizing conservation, modernizing the energy infrastructure, increasing energy supplies, accelerating the protection and improvement of the environment, and increasing the nation's energy security. NEP's 105 recommendations include enacting comprehensive electricity legislation that promotes competition and encourages new generation, implementing a reliable national transmission grid, opening a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to regulated oil and natural gas exploration, providing $2 billion over 10 years for clean coal research, expanding nuclear energy by establishing waste repository and streamlining plant licensing, developing hydrogen and fusion energy technology, creating tax credits for hybrid and fuel cell vehicles, increasing funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs that are performance-based and cost-shared, and dedicating new funds to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and for the Weatherization Assistance Program. More than 80 of the 105 specific proposals in NEP can be enacted or undertaken through executive branch action.
May 18, 2001
President Bush discusses his energy plan in a speech at the Safe Harbor Water Power Corporation in Conestoga, Pennsylvania. He issues two executive orders implementing National Energy Policy recommendations affecting federal agencies. The first requires agencies to prepare a Statement of Energy Effects on energy supply distribution or use when undertaking certain agency regulatory actions. The second directs agencies to expedite their review of permits for energy-related projects.
May 23, 2001
As part of the National Energy Policy implementation, Secretary Abraham directs that DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy undertake strategic reviews of its research and development programs.
May 25, 2001
In an address to plant employees at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Maryland, Secretary Abraham states that the National Energy Policy embraces an expanded role for nuclear power by recommending that nuclear power plants meeting stringent safety requirements be relicensed as quickly as possible and encouraging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to expedite applications for new advanced-technology reactors. "Nuclear Energy," the Secretary notes, "is a safe, clean, and efficient form of power generation."
May 28, 2001
Secretary Abraham directs DOE's Western Area Power Administration to take the first steps toward building the necessary transmission capacity to relieve the bottleneck in California's Path 15, an 84-mile stretch of electrical transmission lines connecting Southern California with the northern part of the state. The Secretary's action implements a National Energy Policy recommendation.
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June 1, 2001
The Bush Administration asks Congress for $6.1 billion in supplemental appropriations for Fiscal Year 2001. Of this amount, the Administration earmarks $320 million for DOE nuclear weapons, environmental management, and environmental, safety, and health programs.
June 5, 2001
OPEC members decide not to increase production. Secretary Abraham notes that OPEC's decision demonstrates the importance of implementing the National Energy Policy.
June 11, 2001
On the eve of his first trip to Europe, President Bush announces two new climate change initiatives: the U.S. Climate Change Research Initiative to "study areas of uncertainty and identify priority areas where investments can make a difference" and the National Climate Change Technology Initiative to "strengthen research at universities and national labs, to enhance partnerships in applied research, to develop improved technology for measuring and monitoring gross and net greenhouse gas emissions, and to fund demonstration projects for cutting-edge technologies, such as bioreactors and fuel cells."
June 20, 2001
DOE releases a report indicating that proposed wholesale electricity price controls in California could double the number of rolling blackouts. "The findings of this report are a clear warning that price controls will not help, but only hurt the situation in California," Secretary Abraham observes. "Minimizing the number of blackouts ought to be our principal goal because more intense blackouts would greatly imperil the health and safety of California's citizens and would undermine the state's economy at least as much as high prices. Our analysis is that blackouts will be worse and last longer if price controls are established."
June 25, 2001
President Bush announces his intention to nominate John Marburger, III, director of the DOE Brookhaven National Laboratory, as director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology.
June 25, 2001
Secretary Abraham announces that the DOE Bonneville Power Administration intends to sign pre-development agreements for seven wind power projects, which would provide an additional 830 megawatts of generating capacity in the electricity-strapped Western region. The initiative would produce enough electricity to meet the needs of nearly 270,000 homes and increase the nation's wind power capacity by approximately 20 percent.
June 28, 2001
President Bush speaks to employees at DOE's Forrestal building in Washington, D.C. The President announces $85.7 million in federal grants to "accelerate the development of fuel cells, advanced engines, hydro-technology and efficient appliances for American consumers."
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July 2, 2001
Secretary Abraham joins with Kentucky officials in leading the groundbreaking ceremony for the new EnviroPower power plant located at Hindman. The plant will be operated with Clean Coal technology.
July 2, 2001
Secretary Abraham announces that the national average price for regular gasoline has fallen to $1.47 per gallon, a drop of 24 cents since May. "Barring any unforeseen problems," the Secretary notes, "we expect prices to continue to fall by another 5 cents per gallon or more by Labor Day." He adds that predictions of $3 per gallon gas for the summer were "greatly exaggerated."
July 9, 2001
Secretary Abraham and Chairman Pascal Colombani of the Commissariat a L'Energie Atomique of France sign a bilateral agreement to jointly fund innovative research in advanced reactors and fuel cycle development.
July 9, 2001
NNSA announces that, according to a recent survey, four of the six fastest supercomputers in the world are in use at DOE laboratories.
July 13, 2001
President Bush announces the first set of actions to advance his June 11 climate change initiatives to further scientific research and spur technological innovation. The President cites the promise of new carbon capture, storage, and sequestration technologies and two new agreements signed between DOE and public and private organizations.
July 18, 2001
The General Accounting Office demands that Vice President Cheney release information on the development of the administration's energy policy.
July 19, 2001
DOE issues a $385,000 civil penalty to Kaiser Hill Company, LC, operator of the DOE Rocky Flats Environmental Technology site in Denver, Colorado, for violations of rules and procedures designed to assure nuclear safety.
July 23, 2001
Secretary Abraham announces the signing of a formal charter by the United States and governments of leading nuclear nations, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, Republic of Korea, and the United Kingdom, establishing the Generation IV International Forum (GIF), as an international collective dedicated to the development by 2030 of the next generation of nuclear reactor and fuel cycle technologies. The charter provides the framework to plan and conduct international cooperative research on advanced nuclear energy systems that are safe, reliable, economic, and proliferation-resistant.
July 26, 2001
Secretary Abraham announces changes to DOE headquarters' management structure and reporting relationships. Among the changes, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and the Office of Policy are combined to create a new Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, and the Offices of the Chief Financial Officer and Management and Budget are merged and renamed the Office of Management, Budget and Evaluation.
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August 2, 2001
The House of Representatives passes an energy bill containing major portions of President Bush's energy plan recommendations. The bill contains $33.5 billion in tax breaks primarily to promote fuel production, opens no more than 2,000 acres of the coast of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration and production, and slightly increases fuel efficiency standards for vehicles. Secretary Abraham notes that passage of the "comprehensive, balanced energy legislation . . . is an important step toward meeting our long-term energy needs and reducing our dependence on foreign sources of energy."
August 7, 2001
At the National Governors Association (NGA) annual meeting, Secretary Abraham and Michigan Governor John Engler, new chairman of the NGA, announce the establishment of a blue-ribbon Task Force on Electricity Infrastructure that will focus on state policies and regional issues that impact the nation's energy sector.
August 13, 2001
The National Research Council recommends that the goals of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) program be reevaluated and updated. PNGV is a partnership between the federal government and the U.S. automotive industry — DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Co., and General Motors Corp. under the umbrella organization, the United States Council for Automotive Research. The program was designed to develop a new generation of vehicles with up to three times the fuel efficiency of conventional cars without compromising performance, affordability, safety, utility, or emissions. "The current goals of the PNGV program include production prototypes for an 80 mile-per-gallon sedan by 2004," Secretary Abraham notes. "Since roughly half of the light-duty vehicle sales in the U.S. are sport utility vehicles, vans and pickup trucks, the PNGV program is out of step with markets and consumer demand."
August 13, 2001
At a meeting in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, the Western Governors Association signs a memorandum of understanding with DOE and other relevant federal agencies to work cooperatively on energy development and conservation in the western U.S. The memorandum provides a framework for the signatories to expeditiously work together to resolve both the short term energy crisis in the region and longer-term energy problems.
August 15, 2001
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory dedicates the "world's fastest supercomputer," the IBM ASCI White supercomputer with 8,192 processors that perform 12.3 trillion operations per second.
August 15, 2001
DOE releases a Preliminary Site Suitability Evaluation for the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level waste nuclear repository. The study tentatively concludes that the repository would meet radiation standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and licensing requirements of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
August 20, 2001
Secretary of Energy Abraham reaffirms the DOE commitment to meeting its responsibilities in the government-to-government relationships between federally recognized American Indian tribes and the Department.
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September 5, 2001
Secretary Abraham briefs President Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox about the ongoing discussions between the United States and Mexico on energy cooperation.
September 11, 2001
Terrorists attack the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C. Under the threat of additional assaults, Secretary Abraham orders that all DOE facilities be placed in high-security status. All non-essential DOE personnel are evacuated and sent home. All shipments of nuclear materials are halted; nuclear operations around the country are stopped; and nuclear material is secured. America's energy infrastructure is monitored, and security at nuclear plants, refineries, pipelines, distribution points, and along the electricity transmission grid is heightened. The nation's oil and gas supply, including the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, is also monitored.
Over the next several weeks, DOE responds to the disaster by contributing equipment, emergency medical technicians and other assistance in support of rescue efforts. DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory dispatches Fire Department personnel, all trained in confined-space rescue, as well as truck and heavy rescue equipment and several electrical generators to New York City. The DOE Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory sends four emergency services officers to work in the triage area. Working with Federal Emergency Management Agency staff, DOE employees assist in the search for survivors by using Ground Penetrating Radar equipment adapted with motion detection applications. Other DOE teams operate with sophisticated, remotely-operated equipment, including infrared cameras, robotic equipment and fiber optic cameras.
September 17, 2001
In a speech to the 45th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Secretary Abraham states that the world must ensure that "nuclear materials are never used as weapons of terror." He notes that "we cannot assume that tomorrow's terrorist acts will mirror those we have just experienced. This is why the work of the IAEA is so pivotal. Preventing terrorist acts underlies our continuing and robust support for this Agency. We know our security, and that of nations around the world largely depends upon what this Agency does to prevent the proliferation and the misuse of nuclear materials."
September 17, 2001
Secretary Abraham announces that DOE will invest $30 million over the next three to five years in 11 projects to develop process technology to produce chemicals, plastics, materials and other products from plant matter and other natural waste materials. "Producing marketable industrial products out of plants saves energy, saves nonrenewable resources and creates jobs," notes the Secretary. "The bioenergy and bioproducts fields hold tremendous potential for environmentally desirable manufacturing and the creation of new jobs in the farm belt."
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October 4, 2001
Secretary Abraham announces that DOE-funded researchers have won 26 of the 100 awards given this year by R&D Magazine for the most outstanding technology developments with commercial potential. The researchers winning the awards work at 13 of DOE's laboratories and facilities across the country.
October 4, 2001
The Department's Energy Information Administration announces that fuel costs for the upcoming winter should decline across the board for residential use, which will lower heating costs by an average of more than 19 percent. "This is very good news for consumers," states Secretary Abraham. "There is always a measure of uncertainty in the winter oil prices, even more so in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11th."
October 10, 2001
Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-South Dakota) halts further Energy and Natural Resources Committee consideration of major energy legislation after concluding there are probably enough votes on the panel to approve the Bush administration's plan for drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
October 18, 2001
Secretary Abraham today announces a $300 million deal with Pacific Gas & Electric and six other parties to build the upgrade of Path 15 and alleviate California's major electric transmission bottleneck. Plans call for a 45-45-10 ownership split between public and private firms with DOE's Western Area Power Administration retaining 10 percent in recognition of its role as project manager.
October 18, 2001
In the keynote address to the Hoover Institution's Conference on California's Electricity Problem, Secretary Abraham declares that "so long as I am in this job, I will make sure energy security is my primary concern." He notes that "access to energy is a military necessity" and that energy security is "perhaps the principal factor . . . in sustaining a robust economy, an economy that's global and growing."
October 25, 2001
At the Quarterly Leadership Meeting of senior DOE officials. Secretary Abraham outlines the Department's missions and priorities. Noting that DOE's "overarching mission is national security," the Secretary lists eight priority objectives: identifying new sources of energy for the future, protecting the nation's critical energy infrastructure, implementing President Bush's energy plan, implementing the President's climate change initiative, ensuring the reliability of the nation's nuclear stockpile, addressing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology, enhancing homeland defense against new terrorist threats, and implementing environmental cleanup faster and cheaper.
October 30, 2001
Following the first meeting of the Homeland Security Council, Secretary Abraham states that he has asked the directors of DOE national laboratories to compile a "comprehensive menu of the kinds of research projects in infrastructure protection and counterterrorism." The Secretary notes that White House Office of Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge "recognizes the vast array of assets DOE has at the national labs and at the NNSA."
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November 9, 2001
Secretary Abraham establishes the 39-member Electricity Advisory Board that is tasked with providing authoritative advice from across all segments of the electricity industry.
November 13, 2001
President Bush directs Secretary Abraham to increase the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) up to its 700 million barrel capacity using principally royalty oil from federal offshore leases. The President's directive will add up to 108 million barrels of crude oil to the nation's emergency oil stockpile. The SPR currently holds approximately 545 million barrels of oil with another 47 million barrels scheduled under previous agreements to arrive over the next 14 months. In the event of a major oil supply disruption, the President can order a release of the crude oil to counter potential economic harm to consumers and to provide fuel for national defense.
November 14, 2001
DOE's Energy Information Administration issues its long-term energy forecast predicting that 374 gigawatts of additional electric generating capacity will be needed by 2020. This would mean about 1,200 new plants at 300 megawatts each.
November 15, 2001
Secretary Abraham hosts White House Office of Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge on a tour of some of the counterterrorism technologies developed at DOE laboratories. Over two dozen technologies are on display.
November 29, 2001
After two days of meetings in Moscow, Secretary Abraham and Russian Federation Minister of Atomic Energy Alexander Rumyantsev agree to accelerate and expand joint U.S. - Russian efforts to strengthen the protection of nuclear material. The agreement builds on commitments by Presidents Bush and Putin at their recent Crawford, Texas summit and will involve both bilateral efforts and a joint commitment to urge more effective international action.
November 30, 2001
Following press accounts that a draft General Accounting Office (GAO) report is critical of DOE's handling of the proposed nuclear waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain and urges the Bush Administration to postpone indefinitely a decision on building the facility, Secretary Abraham describes the report as "fatally flawed." He tells David M. Walker, comptroller general of the GAO, that "in the normal course of events, DOE would have had an opportunity to formally comment on its deficiencies, allowing GAO to correct its work product. Our interactions with your staff on this inquiry and the inappropriate, premature release of the draft report," the Secretary adds, "reinforce my concern that it was assembled to support a predetermined conclusion."
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December 2, 2001
Enron Corp, a Houston based energy-trading company ranked No. 7 on Fortune's list of 500 largest companies, files for bankruptcy. Secretary Abraham states that Enron's bankruptcy should not affect electricity legislation. "The circumstances do not relate to electricity deregulation," the Secretary says, adding that "no correlation" exists between Enron's "business reporting of profits and losses" and deregulation.
December 5, 2001
Senate Democrats propose an alternative energy bill that stresses conservation, efficiency, and development of new resources over expanded drilling on public land, including Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
December 6, 2001
Secretary Abraham expresses his disappointment that energy legislation will not be passed this year. He admonishes the Senate to act on the legislation in January. He states that he is "encouraged by the common ground between the Democratic legislation, the President's National Energy Plan and the House-passed bill. Where there are areas of disagreement," the Secretary notes, "the only fair way to resolve those issues is to take an up or down vote. I would urge the Senate to adopt time agreements on those measures and get the job done." He adds that the Senate should "consider serious proposals to increase domestic exploration and production of oil and gas."
December 11, 2001
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) files suit in federal court to force DOE to produce documents relating to the development of the Bush Administration's energy policy. The NRDC now joins Judicial Watch, which filed a similar suit in July, in an effort to gain access to the documents.
December 13, 2001
The Department releases the final phase of a two-part analysis of the natural gas market in the U.S., which indicates that prices should continue to decline through next year and that supplies are expected to increase. Secretary Abraham tasked DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) to conduct the study because of broad concerns about tight supplies, volatile prices, and regional price disparities. "EIA's analysis is welcome news for U.S. consumers and for our economy," the Secretary states. "The data clearly shows that the natural gas difficulties of 2000 were not caused by a fundamental inadequacy in the marketplace, such as a serious limitation in stock levels, but by an increase in demand overlaid with a shortage of supply."
December 19, 2001
After an exhaustive, eight-month review of possible missions and future commercial uses for Hanford's Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF) research reactor, Secretary Abraham announces that the restart of the FFTF is impracticable and that DOE will proceed with the deactivation of the facility.
December 19, 2001
A U.S. Department of Defense report, prepared with DOE assistance, on how nuclear weapons could be modified to attack hardened bunker complexes and buried tunnels that conventional weapons cannot destroy is made public. The report was sent to Congress in October, but no decision has been made to go ahead with such a program.