Times Staff and Wire Reports

Energy R&D; Supported by Panel: Appointed last fall, before the most recent round of proposals for dismantling the Department of Energy, the Task Force on Strategic Energy Research and Development recommended streamlining but maintaining federal funding for energy research and development. The task force, chaired by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and energy expert Daniel Yergin, found that U.S. research funding has dropped 75% since 1978 and that the Japanese government now spends more than twice as much as the United States does. Though the U.S. program could be made more efficient, said Yergin, president of Massachusetts-based Cambridge Energy Research Associates, "wholesale demolition of those programs would not only hurt America's energy position but also contribute to a 'brewing R&D; crisis,' " with cutbacks in both federal and private-sector research and development.

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