Department of Energy (DOE) (Federal Agency Profiles)
ESTABLISHED: October 1, 1977
ADDRESS: 1000 Independence Ave. SW Washington, DC 20585
PHONE: (202) 586-5000
SECRETARY OF ENERGY: Bill Richardson
WHAT IS ITS MISSION?
As stated by the Department of Energy (DOE), its mission is "to contribute to the welfare of the nation by providing the technical information and scientific and educational foundation for technology, policy and institutional leadership necessary to achieve efficiency in energy use, diversity in energy sources, a more productive and competitive economy, improved environmental quality, and a secure national defense." The DOE provides the framework for a comprehensive national energy plan that encompasses energy, national security, environmental management, science, and technology research and programs. In recent years the DOE's mission has expanded to include long-term planning for nuclear power and weapons waste in light of growing dependence on nuclear energy and the reduction of nuclear weapons stockpiles.
HOW IS IT STRUCTURED?
The DOE is a cabinet-level department and is...
(The entire section is 2668 words.)
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Energy Department (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The Department of Energy (DOE) is an executive agency of the federal government. It was created in response to the early 1970s energy shortages, long lines at the gas pumps, and rising prices to name a few. Its many duties include the administration of federal energy policies and functions, research and development (R&D) of energy technology, marketing of federally produced power, promotion of energy conservation, oversight of the NUCLEAR WEAPONS program, regulation of energy production and consumption, and collection and analysis of energy-related data. The department's web site can be found at www.energy.gov.
The DOE was created in 1977 under the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C.A. § 7131). The act brought together all major federal energy responsibilities into one cabinet-level department. The DOE divides itself into three major programs, or divisions: energy programs, weapons/waste clean-up programs, and science and technology programs. It also oversees five power administrations and includes the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Many of the department's research, development, testing, and production activities are performed by contractors who operate government-owned facilities.
Office of the Secretary
The secretary of energy provides overall leadership...
(The entire section is 1430 words.)
United States Department of Energy (USDOE) (Encyclopedia of Public Health)
The United States Department of Energy (USDOE) has a broad national mission that includes oversight of energy production and distribution. It also has a major role in the production of nuclear weapons, the safe storage of nuclear wastes, and the remediation of sites that have been contaminated as a result of the nation's atom bomb production program. DOE has a strong scientific component located in the DOE National Laboratories, which support research ranging from basic biologic processes to risk assessment.
While not a frontline public health agency, DOE engages in many activities that impact human health and the environment. These include its role in the national choice of energy sources, such as the different fossil fuels that emit varying levels of sulfur oxides, particulates, and nitrogen oxide air pollutants; nuclear energy with its attendant risks; and hydroelectric power sources, which also have ecological consequences. DOE is also heavily involved in research to develop more efficient and less-polluting automobiles. Within the DOE, the Division of Environmental Management and the Division of Environment, Health, and Safety have combined annual budgets of over $6 billion, which is used to clean up the legacy of atom bomb production and to protect worker and community health.
The secrecy surrounding the atom bomb program and a series of poor decisions on the part of DOE leadership have, at times, engendered distrust of the agency by local communities, scientific groups, and by Congress. This has led to many of its nuclear regulatory functions being placed under the independent control of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and its worker surveillance programs largely placed under the direction of the Centers for Disease Control. It has also led to the funding of credible university-based organizations to work with the various stakeholders, such as the Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation. Compounding the issue of distrust is the public perception of grave risks associated with nuclear materials and the millennia-long halflives of many radioactive compounds. A central issue for DOE is to find ways to safely and credibly provide stewardship of radioactive wastes for future generations.
BERNARD D. GOLDSTEIN
(SEE ALSO: Automotive Emissions; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Nuclear Power; Nuclear Waste; Sulfur-Containing Air Pollutants [Particulates])