Clean En­ergy Funds Slashed in Pro­posed Trump Bud­get

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In the pro­posed 2018 bud­get that Don­ald Trump re­cently sub­mit­ted to Congress, clean en­ergy pro­grams were cut back dras­ti­cally from last year’s fund­ing.

The direct clean en­ergy fund­ing cuts in­cluded ma­jor cut­backs at the U.S. De­part­ment of En­ergy (DOE) and the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency (EPA). There were also in­creases in fund­ing for sev­eral pro­grams re­lated to fos­sil fu­els.

The DOE saw a cut of 43% from its FY 2017 bud­get of $4.4 bil­lion for “en­ergy and re­lated pro­grams.” That leaves only $2.5 bil­lion in that cat­e­gory when FY 2018 be­gins. Within those line items are the fol­low­ing:

• En­ergy ef­fi­ciency and re­new­able en­ergy pro­grams: Cut by 65% from FY 2017’s just un­der $2 bil­lion. The re­main­ing $696 mil­lion will be fo­cused on “early-stage R&D on en­ergy tech­nolo­gies, in­clud­ing new ap­proaches to en­ergy stor­age be­yond cur­rent bat­tery tech­nolo­gies.” That def­i­ni­tion does not leave much room for fo­cus on ad­vances in al­ter­na­tive re­new­able en­ergy con­cepts.

• Loan pro­grams and the Ad­vanced Re­search Projects Agency – En­ergy (ARPA-E) pro­grams: Ter­mi­nated ex­cept for “main­tain­ing mon­i­tor­ing of the ex­ist­ing loan port­fo­lio and over­see­ing ex­ist­ing awards to com­ple­tion.” This is from an agency that has had 74 pro­ject teams work­ing on ad­vanced devel­op­ments since it was formed in 2009.

• Fos­sil en­ergy R&D: In­creased by $81 mil­lion, 19% more than last year’s $421 mil­lion. This is to be used for pro­grams that “im­prove the re­li­a­bil­ity and ef­fi­ciency of ad­vanced fos­sil-based power sys­tems.”

• Nu­clear: Cut by 25.5% ($259 mil­lion) from last year’s bud­get of $1.016 bil­lion. It will be used to “re­vive and ex­pand the U.S. nu­clear en­ergy sec­tor through early-stage R&D.”

For the cor­rupt in­dus­try-con­trolled EPA, the new $5.4 bil­lion pro­posed bud­get rep­re­sents a 34% cut from the FY 2017 bud­get. As jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the ma­jor cuts in this im­por­tant pro­tec­tive over­sight agency, the White House says, “The bud­get elim­i­nates many vol­un­tary and lower-pri­or­ity ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­grams and in­vests in process im­prove­ments and other op­er­a­tional en­hance­ments to bring greater ef­fi­ciency and cost-ef­fec­tive­ness to the work of the agency.” It goes on to ex­plain fur­ther that part of the rea­son for the lower bud­get needs is be­cause the “EPA is also in the midst of im­ple­ment­ing sweep­ing reg­u­la­tory re­forms. The Pres­i­dent’s Ex­ec­u­tive Or­ders 13771 (Re­duc­ing Reg­u­la­tion and Con­trol­ling Reg­u­la­tory Costs) and 13783 (Pro­mot­ing En­ergy In­de­pen­dence and Eco­nomic Growth) are guid­ing the agency to find new ap­proaches to pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and hu­man health while also en­sur­ing con­sid­er­a­tion of eco­nomic se­cu­rity, as con­sis­tent with law.”

The Sierra Club de­coded this gov­ern­ment speak into more ac­cu­rate words, say­ing that among the EPA cuts are ma­jor slashes to the over­all “staff and life-sav­ing pro­grams.” Those pro­grams in­clude very im­por­tant past ones such as the Cli­mate Change Re­search and Part­ner­ship Pro­grams, the In­door Air and Radon Pro­grams, and the Marine Pol­lu­tion and Na­tional Es­tu­ary Pro­grams. In a press re­lease is­sued by Michael Brune, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Sierra Club, he said, “Trump’s bud­get is a state­ment of his pri­or­i­ties, and this bud­get demon­strates that he could care less about pro­tect­ing clean air, clean wa­ter, pub­lic health or our pub­lic lands.” He said fur­ther: “This is a shame­ful, ide­o­log­i­cal doc­u­ment that rep­re­sents the ex­tent to which Trump has fully given him­self over to cor­po­rate spe­cial in­ter­ests above all else. Congress

must act to pro­tect the crit­i­cal pro­grams Trump wants to cut by un­equiv­o­cally re­ject­ing this rigged bud­get. Any mem­ber of Congress that backs dra­co­nian cuts like these is fail­ing to rep­re­sent the Amer­i­can peo­ple and may find they need to start up­dat­ing their re­sumé very soon.”

Other pub­lic in­ter­est groups ded­i­cated to help­ing pre­serve the na­tion’s en­vi­ron­ment made sim­i­lar com­ments. The pres­i­dent of the Union of Con­cerned Sci­en­tists (UCS), Ken Kim­mell, la­beled the 2018 bud­get “an as­sault on the vi­tal role that fed­eral sci­en­tists per­form in gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion that we need to make good pub­lic pol­icy.”

Christy Leav­itt, cam­paign di­rec­tor for En­vi­ron­ment Amer­ica’s De­fend Our En­vi­ron­ment, said in a press re­lease that the pro­posed fund­ing plan would mean “more pol­lu­tion and fewer en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions for Amer­i­cans.”

The bud­get ig­nores the safety and health of all liv­ing things to ben­e­fit a very wealthy in­di­vid­u­als and ob­so­lete in­dus­tries.

With less R&D avail­able for en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and re­new­able en­ergy op­tions, it will put the United States com­pet­i­tively even fur­ther be­hind coun­tries such as China, which is in­vest­ing heav­ily to be­come the strong­est in the world in the field of in­ex­pen­sive re­new­able en­ergy or Euro­pean coun­tries, like Den­mark, which are poised to be­come some of the best­po­si­tioned in the area of wind power and Ger­many which is well on its way to gen­er­at­ing nearly all of its power from re­new­able en­ergy and on some days pro­duces a sur­plus.

Cheap green power means lower power and health care costs and a more vi­brant econ­omy.

Wind and solar power are vastly lower in eco­nomic cost than nat­u­ral gas, coal or nu­clear power and are in­finitely less dam­ag­ing to the en­vi­ron­ment and hu­man health. The wind and solar in­dus­tries also em­ploy far more peo­ple than the fos­sil fuel in­dus­tries, at least they did un­til Trump im­posed ob­sta­cles to green en­ergy and ex­panded need­less tax­payer hand­outs to the oil, gas and coal in­dus­tries.

With green en­ergy be­ing the ob­vi­ously in­tel­li­gent choice, why does Amer­ica con­tinue to choose the most dirty, dam­ag­ing and ex­pen­sive en­ergy sources that crip­ple the coun­try?

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