Renewables Lose Battle but Win the War in U.S. Congress

The U.S. government has rejected a proposal to increase funding for renewable energy by $50 million.

WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-06-28 [SolarAccess.com] The House of Representatives is debating budget bill HR 2311. The legislation concerns spending of $23.7 billion for energy and water for the fiscal year that starts in October. The budget includes $7 billion for environmental cleanup, $6.7 billion for nuclear weapons and non-proliferation programs, and $4.5 billion for water projects by the Army Corps of Engineers. Late Wednesday, Rep. Maurice Hinchey suggested an amendment to increase the account for DOE spending on renewables by $50 million and to reduce spending for nuclear activities by $60 million. Democrats say the energy plan of President George Bush does not provide sufficient funding for solar, wind and other renewables. The bill contains $377 million for renewable energy, which is $100 million more than requested by Bush. The proposed amendment also lost on a vote of 258-to-163. The overall spending bill later passed 405-15. The proposal to increase domestic production of oil and gas was also constrained as Congress approved a measure that would ban drilling for fossil fuels under the Great Lakes. The vote follows a similar rejection by the House last week to delay oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and to block fossil fuel exploration in national monuments. The Great Lakes are the source of one-fifth of the world’s fresh water, and politicians were concerned with environmental damage from a possible drilling accident. There is declining support in Congress for the controversial plan to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northern Alaska. The Bush administration issued a statement to express concern that the overall bill is $1.2 billion above what Bush asked and is the second of three spending bills approved by the House to exceed the White House budget request.
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