Green heads will explode: White House seeks 72 percent cut to clean energy research
From the Washington Post
The Trump administration is poised to ask Congress for deep budget cuts to the Energy Department’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, slashing them by 72 percent overall in fiscal 2019, according to draft budget documents obtained by The Washington Post.
Many of the sharp cuts would probably be restored by Congress, but President Trump’s budget, due out in February, will mark a starting point for negotiations and offer a statement of intent and policy priorities.
The document underscores the administration’s continued focus on the exploitation of fossil fuel resources — or, as Trump put it in his State of the Union address, “beautiful clean coal” — over newer renewable technologies seen as a central solution to the problem of climate change.
The Energy Department had asked the White House for more modest spending reductions to the renewable and efficiency programs, but people familiar with the process, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share unfinished budget information, said the Office of Management and Budget had insisted on the deeper cuts.
One person familiar with the negotiating process, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely describe what the person had learned, said that the budget request had been lowered after negotiations with the Office of Management and Budget, and may have been lowered further because of a desire to channel more funding toward nuclear energy, a favored subject for Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
DOE spokesperson Hynes defended the department’s record, saying that last year it “awarded hundreds of millions of dollars to solar and wind energy.”
But the funding requests for next year represent a double whammy for renewable energy after the administration last week imposed tariffs on imported solar panels.
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