An anonymous source within the United States Department of Energy (DOE) has told Bloomberg that President Donald Trump’s proposed 2020 budget includes a 70-percent reduction in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) budget.
The cuts would result in the EERE’s budget dropping from $2.3 billion to $700 million. The cuts will presumably hamper the office’s various initiatives, which include a slew of past projects including grid modernization, helping energy retailers secure financing for various projects and assisting cities in clean energy innovation.
At the time of publishing, the budget documents the Office of Management and Budget made available on March 11 did include specific information that could confirm Bloomberg’s source. However, the office’s website notes they will release additional supplemental information and analysis on March 18. It is not known if those documents will make clear the budget cuts Bloomberg’s source mentioned.
EWG Boss, Former Obama Staffer Slam Proposed Cuts
One of the more spirited polemic quotes regarding the alleged cuts came from Environmental Working (EW Group President Ken Cook, who characterized the cuts as a “brazen ploy”.
“President Trump’s annual attack on clean energy research is a brazen ploy to gin up support from the fossil fuel industry. This latest attempt to roll back the clean energy revolution will fail. Even members of Congress who represent deep red districts and states understand how important the renewable energy sector is to the economy.”Cook said in an EWG press release.
Jeff Navin, the former chief of staff for President Barack Obama’s energy secretary, told Bloomberg the budget is a dead-on-arrival proposition.
“By pushing these ‘message budgets,’ they’re making sure that appropriators in both parties completely dismiss them,” Navin was quoted as saying. “They’re so far out of the mainstream that they don’t actually influence the budget debate.”
AEA President Responds With Support of Cuts
Amid the criticism of the alleged budget cuts was a pointed critique of the EERE from Tom Pyle, the president of the American Energy Alliance (AEA) and former leader of Trump Energy Department.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Pyle that even with the proposed cuts, the EERE’s budget is still “out of control” and that “even with the reduction it would still be one of the largest budgets in the Energy line.”
Pyle also provided his perspective on the proposed cuts in an AEA press release.
“The Trump administration’s proposed 2020 budget would modernize government spending in a manner consistent with the energy revolution taking place before our very eyes. The government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers in the economy.” Said Tom Pyle in the press release.
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