Rick Perry Must Defend Trump’s Dangerous Energy Department Cuts
June 20, 2017
The Trump budget decimates the budget of the Department of Energy. Today, Secretary Perry will have to defend those cuts to Congress.
The Department of Energy is leading the way on multiple scientific frontiers, including controlling our nuclear arsenal and developing and deploying clean energy. But Secretary Perry yesterday “denied that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of climate change–” a claim rejected by the scientific community. It’s unfortunate, but not surprising, that Perry supports a budget that handicaps the department he is tasked with leading.
Trump’s budget would slash funding for the Energy Department’s non-nuclear security work by 18 percent.
Post Register: “While the National Nuclear Security Administration’s budget would increase by $1.4 Billion, or 11 percent, the rest of DOE’s budget would be cut by $3.1 billion, or 18 percent.”
Trump’s budget proposes drastically reducing funding for research programs to combat climate change, while selling off federal fuel reserves meant to cushion against spiking gasoline prices.
New York Times: “The budget also proposes selling off half of the oil in the federal government’s 700 million-barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which was established after the oil crises of the 1970s to provide a cushion against unexpected shortages.”
New York Times: “At the same time, the budget would cut $3.1 billion from energy research programs at the Energy Department, an 18 percent reduction from last year’s spending. These programs are aimed at developing innovative technologies like better batteries for electric vehicles or carbon capture for coal and gas plants — all of which could one day help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat global warming.”
Trump’s budget proposal slashes funding by nearly 70 percent for clean energy programs.
Washington Post: “The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would see just $636 million in new funding in 2018 under the proposal, compared with a budget allocation of $ 2.069 billion in 2017, a decline of more than 69 percent, according to the documents. It would also cut staffing expenditures from 634 full-time employee equivalents down to an estimated 458, an almost 28 percent reduction.”
Washington Post: “Funding to solar energy programs would decline to $69.7 million from $241 million just a year earlier, or over 71 percent, under the proposal. Wind energy research would decline to $31.7 million from $95.27 million, a 67 percent cut.”
The Trump administration claimed it would focus on nuclear and ‘clean coal’ technology, but the Trump budget devastates both.
Washington Post: “Perhaps most surprising of all, the budget outlines harsh cuts to research on so-called ‘clean coal,’ even though this is a professed Trump administration priority.”
Washington Post: “It would reduce the budget of the Energy Department’s Fossil Energy Research and Development Program down to $280 million from $631 million in 2017, a 56 percent cut. Within that, funding for research on carbon capture and carbon storage…would shrink to just $31 million from $206.6 million in the prior year, or a dramatic cut of 85 percent.”
Washington Post: “Another administration priority, nuclear energy, would also see research cuts, though not as sharp. Funding would decline to $703 million from $984 million a year earlier, or more than 28 percent.”
Trump’s budget effectively zeroes out programs that led to energy breakthroughs and support manufacturing jobs.
Washington Post: “The administration is also proposing almost no funding to the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, a research program designed to pursue energy breakthroughs — appropriating just $20 million instead of the $290 million that Congress provided in 2017. That’s a 93 percent reduction.”
New York Times: “Accordingly, Mr. Trump’s plan would provide no funds for initiatives like the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, which in 2010 provided Tesla with a crucial $465 million loansix months before the electric car manufacturer went public.”
Trump’s budget proposes building a nuclear waste dump at Yucca mountain, but it also cuts funds for programs to cleanup radioactive material.
New York Times: “The proposal would also restart the Nuclear Waste Fund fee program, which charges electricity users money to be funneled toward construction of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump in Nevada, with estimated revenues of about $3 billion over 10 years. But that money would be specifically earmarked for construction of the nuclear waste repository, which has been mired in delays and disputes for decades.”
New York Times: “That thinking is reflected clearly in places like the budget for the agency’s Office of Nuclear Energy, which faces a 31 percent cut…it would cancel cost-sharing agreements with firms like TerraPower and X-energy working on new designs for reactors that might produce less radioactive waste than today’s models.”
Post Register: “Trump’s budget would cut expenditures on cleaning up radioactive waste the federal government left in Idaho by $45 million, or 11 percent. A second budget line devoted to small non-defense sites, some of which goes to cleanup in Idaho, would be chopped from $88 million to $55 million, a 38 percent reduction.”
Trump’s budget proposes cutting electricity delivery programs and selling transmission lines that serve western states, risking cost hikes.
Post Register: On Trump’s proposed DOE budget: “there also would be big cuts to electricity delivery and energy reliability, including $25 million for smart grid research (71 percent), $12 million for energy storage (60 percent) and $26 million for clean energy transmission (67 percent).”
New York Times: “Mr. Trump proposes selling off thousands of miles of government-owned transmission lines that move this electricity to homes across nearly 20 Western states, from Arizona to Wyoming, creating estimated revenue of about $10 billion over a decade.”
New York Times: “Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, the top Democrat on the Senate Energy Committee, said the plan had no chance. ‘Selling government-owned transmission lines to the highest bidder will just have the effect of jacking up power rates.’”