Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Trump continues to choose dirty energy over clean energy

Solar panel installation on home
 Photographer: Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg
White House seeks 72 percent cut to clean energy research, underscoring administration’s preference
for fossil fuels

Chris Mooney and Steven Mufson in the Washington Post:

The Trump administration is poised to ask Congress for deep budget cuts to the Energy Department’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, slashing them by 72 percent overall in fiscal 2019, according to draft budget documents obtained by The Washington Post.

Many of the sharp cuts would likely be restored by Congress, but President Trump’s budget due out in February will mark a starting point for negotiations and offer a statement of intent and policy priorities.

The document underscores the administration’s continued focus on the exploitation of fossil fuel resources — or as Trump put it in his State of the Union address, “beautiful clean coal” — over newer renewable technologies seen as a central solution to the problem of climate change.

The Energy Department had asked the White House for more modest spending reductions for the renewable and efficiency programs, but people familiar with the process, who asked for anonymity to share unfinished budget information, said that the Office of Management and Budget insisted on the deeper cuts.

The cuts would also be deeper than those the Trump administration sought for the current fiscal year, but was unable to implement because of the budget impasse in Congress. The federal government has been operating on a series of continuing resolutions that have maintained existing spending. The current continuing resolution expires Feb. 8.

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