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Energy Spending Bill Loaded With Pork Spending

The Huffington Post   Jenna Staul First Posted: 03/18/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 03:20 PM ET

Steven Chu

Energy Secretary Steven Chu likely won't get the network of new biofuel research labs he wanted.

That's because Congress has loaded an energy-spending bill with millions of dollars for other projects including an aviation-research institute, an environmentally-friendly locomotive and an air conditioning unit for a New Jersey museum, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The paper reports that the legislation provides the Energy Department with $27.1 billion, $1.3 billion less than the President and Secretary Chu sought. Lawmakers cut Chu's request to fund eight new research and development labs costing $280 million. The department can still fund three of those proposed labs -- but the money must come from the DOE's own budget.

Many of the earmarks funded in the bill -- including $1.5 million for new air conditioning at the Newark Museum -- have been criticized as being pork, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Rep. Todd Tiahrt, (R., Kan.), says a provision to direct $1.5 million to the National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University will allow small businesses to take advantage of research by the institute ...

The proposal was one of several flagged in a recent "pork alert" by Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington nonprofit; the alert noted that the institute's Web site lists several large aerospace companies as clients.

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