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Energy secretary: Planned GOP cuts could cost US in clean-energy race (video)

Energy Secretary Steven Chu called on Congress not to cut his department’s research-and-development budget. It's 'vital for our future prosperity,' he said Friday.

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Energy Secretary Steven Chu speaks at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters on April 1.

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor

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Energy Secretary Steven Chu called on Congress not to cut his department’s research-and-development budget, saying to do so could cost the US its place in the race to develop advanced batteries and other clean forms of energy.

Speaking Friday at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters, Secretary Chu was asked about provisions in a House Republican spending plan for the current budget year. It would cut $800 million from the DOE science budget and $700 million from its renewable-energy programs.

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“I would hope Congress would appreciate the fact that the research-and-development budget is vital for our future prosperity,” Chu said. “This is a very competitive world out there.”

Chu, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, outlined progress in batteries for electric cars aimed at providing a 300-mile range. He described the development of such a battery as “a market-changer.”

He added, “You turn off the spigot for this research and ideas, you will be saying, 'All right, United States, you are not in the race anymore.' And that would be tragic.”