President Donald Trump’s (R) new budget proposal cuts climate protection to the bone and makes deep cuts into the energy department. While it should be no surprise as Trump promised steep cuts to pretty much everything except defense—Trump’s first budget proposal is still disappointing and rife with draconian cuts to programs that are creating jobs for and protecting the health of millions of Americans. The proposal quickly angered clean energy and environmental advocates, among others.
Under the proposal, the Department of Energy’s budget would see a 5.6 percent cut of $1.7 billion from $29.7 billion to $28 billion in 2018. Within that the DOE Office of Science, which funds research and development and labs like NREL and the Berkeley Lab, would lose $900 million. It also would eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Energy Star program, among others.
“The DOE budget cuts are likely to raise ire in the power sector, where ARPA-E's project investments alone have attracted more than $1.8 billion in private sector funding since 2009,” contended Utility Dive’s Gavin Bade, in a brief. In fact, not just the power sector but others like governors and company leaders are also likely to be upset over the proposal.
Indeed, “If you want to stifle innovation and punish businesses with higher energy bills, this is the budget for you,” chafed Bob Keefe, executive director of the national, nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2). "You simply can’t cut energy efficiency programs and expect businesses to magically have lower energy bills. You can’t cut R&D funding and expect the next generation of job-creating clean energy technologies to emerge from our national labs.”
Under the proposed budget, which will likely see challenges and must be approved by Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would have its budget slashed by 31 percent from just $8.2 billion to to a measly $5.7 billion. The Chemical Safety Board, which oversees hazardous chemical spills like the Deepwater Horizon Blowout in 2010, without instituting fines, would see its minutes, $12.4 million budget cut 100 percent. It opened 783 investigations into spills in 2016.
“Trump’s budget proposal screams that the only thing that matters in his America is corporate polluters’ profits and Wall Street billionaires,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune criticized. “If Trump refuses to be serious about protecting our health and climate, or our publicly owned lands, then Congress must act, do its job, and reject this rigged budget. The American people are watching, and they will continue to demand that their voices are heard and protected. Any member of Congress that fails to put the American people first will need to start updating their resume.”
“This extreme budget puts millions of clean energy jobs at risk and lands a body-blow to American competitiveness. The proposals outlined in this budget need to be stopped. Now,” Keefe stated.Tweet