The proposed budget of U.S. President George Bush signals his administration’s intent “to turn its back on decades of progress in energy policy,” claims the Sustainable Energy Coalition.
WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-04-19 <SolarAccess.com> The Fiscal Year 2002 budget will reduce the Department of Energy funding for renewable energy programs by 40 percent, and by 30 percent for energy efficiency research. Some programs were eliminated altogether. “This is at a time when the country’s energy situation demands a fuller commitment to technologies that can be brought online quickly, produce new energy for the electrical grid without emitting greenhouse gases, provide a safe energy supply, improve national security by decreasing the country’s reliance on foreign oil imports, and help stabilize the economy by creating jobs,” says Susanna Drayne. “To say we are disappointed by this budget is an understatement.” “With soaring energy prices and an energy crisis that is likely to affect a broader segment of the country this spring and summer, the Bush budget is patently irresponsible,” she adds. “A comprehensive and balanced approach to addressing the nation’s energy crises should include incentives to stimulate energy efficiency improvements as well as incentives to facilitate expansion of renewable energy.” In addition to deep cuts in renewable energy, the budget for DOE maintains and increases funding for several expensive and “unproductive” research programs, such as clean coal and nuclear power, she notes. The increased budget of $1.5 billion for new nuclear weapons means the new Administration “obviously feels that new kinds of nuclear weapons are more important than lower electric bills, fewer energy imports, and a cleaner environment.” DOE support to move clean energy technologies to the marketplace “is a critical need right now,” says Drayne. “The Administration clearly should be requesting additional funds for energy efficiency and renewable energy at this time, not requesting cuts.” “These draconian cuts will have significant consequences for consumers,” and efforts to make solar energy, geothermal generation, and wind power more affordable “will be severely limited.” The Sustainable Energy Coalition comprises 30 national business, environmental and consumer groups to promote increased federal support for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and reduced federal support for polluting energy resources.