Based on recent published reports, EDF says the President's proposal would cut the department's budget for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs from more than $2 billion down to about $576 million. But the Trump administration will significantly lower that amount to $575.5 million for 2019, the Post reported. Along with staff cuts, the draft budget documents also want the following: Reduce research in fuel-efficient vehicles by 82 percent.
The paper suggests, without providing specific evidence, that Congress will likely restore most of money, but the proposal is still troublesome because it sets the mark for where the negotiations will start when the budget negotiations begin in earnest this month.
The spending reductions would hit programs aimed at driving down the cost of solar energy, a sector that is creating jobs at a faster pace than the broader US economy.
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. The White House issued a statement that said: "We don't comment on any leaked or pre-decisional documents prior to the release of the official budget". The administration asked for $636.1 million for the 2018 Fiscal Year, though Congress did not implement the request.
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The Energy Department did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
But the most cuts are proposed for fuel efficient vehicles, research into bioenergy technologies and solar energy technology research.
"Clean energy has been one of the biggest job-creators over the past decade, and investment in these critical technologies are driving down energy costs to businesses and consumers", Sen.
One source 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. "We have ended the war on American energy, and we have ended the war on handsome, clean coal", he said. "Now is not the time to slash funding for this promising research".
There is still some hope: Although the White House proposes budgets, it's ultimately up to Congress to decide on appropriations bills.