White House Wants to Cut Renewable Energy Programs by 72%

02 February, 2018, 00:35 | Author: Jason Torres
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Should Congress decide to pass a long-term budget based on the president's recommendations, The Washington Post is reporting that the administration's draconian cuts would include slashing the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) from $2.04 billion level to $575.5 million and cutting almost 250 jobs from the office.

The White House previous year wanted to cut the office's budget to $636.1 million.

It is unclear, the Post notes, whether the document is a final proposal or a draft, but its release prompted swift criticism from clean energy groups and some federal lawmakers. The government, which briefly shut down in January due to the failure to pass a budget, has operated on a series of continuing resolutions; the current measure expires February 8. Trump had requested that the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy only receive $636.1 million in its budget for the 2018 fiscal year, a decline of almost 70 percent from its current budget of $2.04 billion.

Spending for the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is set at $2.04 billion for the current fiscal year, which ends October 1.

According to a document obtained by the Post, the Trump 2019 budget proposal, due out this month, would cut EERE funding by almost three-fourths and reduce the office's staff to about 450 from 680 today.

The spending reductions would hit programs aimed at driving down the cost of solar energy, a sector that is creating jobs at a faster pace than the broader USA economy.

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"It shows that we've made no inroads in terms of convincing the administration of our value, and if anything, our value based on these numbers has dropped", one EERE employee told the Post.

The Energy Department did not respond to a request for comment.

Rebuked by Congress on its 2018 budget, the White House appears set to double down on plans to slash clean energy funding at DOE.

Other cuts to funding would include research for fuel-efficient vehicles, bioenergy, solar energy, electric vehicles, and geothermal, hydro, and wind power. The newspaper's sources, who the Post said asked for anonymity, told the paper the Office of Management and Budget "insisted on deeper cuts".

The renewable and efficiency programs represent about 7 percent of the Energy Department's overall budget.

"Much time has passed since we have all endorsed the policy objective of a 100% renewable energy Barbados". Most DOE funds go to clean up nuclear waste sites across the US, and to maintain the country's stockpile of nuclear weapons.

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