Energy Secretary Steven Chu refused to rule out national dependence on nuclear power in a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing March 16. \u201cWe need to rely on a diverse set of resources,\u201d Chu said repeatedly at the hearing. He added that both nukes and renewable energy require subsidies at the moment. He held out the near-term future when--with a push from government subsidies--renewable energy can be competitive. \u201cNuclear energy is not competitive unless the government subsidizes it,\u201d Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) responded. In the House budget plan, Republicans \u201cpreserved loan guarantees for nuclear,\u201d according to Waxman. But, they also took out $25 billion of $45 billion in loan guarantees for renewable energy development, he noted. \u201cSpending for even laudable goals\u201d like renewable energy still needs to be investigated, said committee chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI). The House committee intends to look into cutting energy subsidies to trim the budget. Coal state representatives criticized the Department of Energy for reducing support for fossil fuels. California representatives generally support renewable energy subsidies. Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) asked Chu to facilitate opening up public lands to mine rare earth minerals used for various renewable energy systems. Representatives queried Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Greg Jaczko for spending on energy in the context of paring down the federal budget. The committee intends to discover what costs are worth continuing given the current financial duress.