The Trump administration will ask Congress to cut funding for clean energy and energy efficiency programs by 72 percent in this year's budget, according to a report in the Washington Post, underscoring its preference for fossil fuels. The Trump administration asked for a budget of $636.1 million a year ago, a almost 70% reduction, but Congress balked.
It is unclear whether the documents viewed by the Post were preliminary drafts of the President's budget, or completed versions. The government, which briefly shut down in January due to the failure to pass a budget, has operated on a series of continuing resolutions; the current measure expires February 8.
If the current fiscal year is any indication, the proposed cuts will remain on paper only.
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE) current spending level is set at $2.04 billion for the current fiscal year ending on October 1. For 2019, the administration's draft proposal would lower that request even further, to $575.5 million.
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.
"It shows that we've made no inroads in terms of convincing the administration of our value, and if anything, our value based on these numbers has dropped", a department employee told the Post on condition of anonymity.More news: Rousey is moving to WWE ring
The Energy Department did not return the Post's request for comment, and the White House declined to respond, citing its policy of not commenting on leaks. Last year, lawmakers from both parties criticized the White House's plan to reduce clean energy funding, and in May Congress struck a government funding deal that reversed numerous deepest cuts sought by the White House.
This is the second year Trump has targeted clean energy spending. "Now is not the time to slash funding for this promising research". The vast majority of the laboratory's $293 million budget in 2017 came from EERE.
Included in the cuts are funds and grants for fuel-efficient vehicle technologies, solar energy, electric cars, and biomass energy technologies.
The proposal would cut funds for electric auto technologies and fuel-efficient vehicles - at $307 million now the biggest of the program areas - to $56 million in 2019.
There is still some hope: Although the White House proposes budgets, it's ultimately up to Congress to decide on appropriations bills.
Money for bioenergy technologies have gone to research renewable fuels from nonfood sources.