The Trump administration may be preparing a very bad surprise for the renewable energy industry and environmentalists with a proposal to cut funding for clean energy and energy efficiency research by as much as 72 percent in fiscal 2019.
That’s according to draft budget documents seen by the Washington Post, which notes that most of these cuts—if they ever reach Congress—will be restored by legislators, but the very fact of their existence in a draft budget is one more indication that the current administration is dedicated to the fossil fuel industry’s well-being, as made evident time and again.
The Washington Post notes that the proposed cuts are deeper than those Washington proposed for the current fiscal year, and deeper than those the Energy Department said it could live with. Yet nothing is final; even the budget for this year has not been approved and federal agencies are operating on a string of continuing resolutions, the last of which expires next week.
If the current fiscal year is any indication, the proposed cuts will remain on paper only. Last year, the administration proposed that funding for the Energy Department’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs should be US$636.1 million, which would have constituted a 66-percent cut from the previous year. Congress refused to play along, and the Office of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency was given a budget of US$2.04 billion. Related: China, U.S. Join Forces In EV Race
The Washington Post approached the White House for a comment on the leaked documents and received the following: “We don’t comment on any leaked or pre-decisional documents prior to the release of the official budget.”
The official budget is due to be announced later this month, but the Washington Post quoted an unnamed source as saying that the budget request had been lowered after negotiations with the Office of Management and Budget so that more money would go into nuclear energy—a sector that Energy Secretary Rick Perry favors, the daily reports.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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