With A&M Grad Rick Perry at Helm, Energy Department Funding Squeeze Hits Even Aggieland

WASHINGTON -- The plot of sorghum planted a few weeks ago by Texas A&M University researcher Cristine Morgan is the kind of ground-breaking study that she says could “transform soil science.”That’s if the funding promised last year by the U.S. Energy Department ever arrives.The $4 million study of root structure is among the projects threatened by a growing political battle over the some of the department’s marquee research programs, including the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy that backs high-risk, high-reward efforts like Morgan’s.And in Aggieland -- home to several such projects -- the tension is magnified by the fact that the new Energy Secretary is none other than former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, A&M class of 1972.“Everybody sees that connection and is hopeful,” said Morgan, who pressed ahead with the plantings in the hopes that the funding comes through. “But is he even aware of it? That’s the question. And then of course, what is his boss telling him?”  Continue reading...

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