Energy efficiency programs, clean energy and environmental regulations could take deep cuts if President Trump’s proposed budget gets everything what he wants, although it’s politically likely that he will not.
The administration’s fiscal 2020 budget would trim the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office by $1.6 billion, or 70 percent of the fiscal 2019 appropriation. Overall, the DOE requested a $31.7 billion budget, an 11-percent decrease.
The Environmental Protection Agency budget request totaled $6.1 billion, a 31-percent cut from the nearly $9 billion allocated for fiscal 2019, according to reports.
“President Trump’s budget supports the Department’s vast mission in a fiscally responsible way, and makes clear that success will be measured not by the dollars spent but by the results achieved on behalf of the American people,” reads the DOE statement announcing the budget. “It calls for strategic investments in our energy security and national security, supporting America’s continued rise as an energy independent nation. Under President Trump’s leadership we have empowered American energy, with the U.S. becoming the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, and now exporting LNG to 34 countries across five continents. The budget request also focuses on moving America forward by investing in transformational science, innovation, and technology. The Department of Energy’s National Labs are the crown jewels of America’s innovation and this funding will continue to support their work from Artificial Intelligence to renewables, clean coal and Advanced Nuclear technology. The budget proposal also funds the modernization of our nuclear stockpile, the aging infrastructure that supports it, and ensures a safe and effective system for our nuclear Navy for years to come.”
The statement said funding would continue to support the DOE’s National Labos programs, including work on artificial intelligence, clean coal and renewable energy. It also allocates money for support advanced nuclear energy technology.
Trump’s overall administration budget cut across all fronts except military spending. It also allocated about $8 billion toward building a wall along the border with Mexico.
Energy efficiency took a huge hit. One detail noted by critics of the budget proposal was that, under the plan, the EnergyStar appliance program would be funded entirely from user fees. It could cut the EPA’s vehicle emissions program completely, according to reports.
“This proposal, if enacted, would cause Americans’ energy costs to rise, while killing jobs around the country,” said Steve Nadel, executive director of advocacy group The American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy, in a statement. “Energy efficiency directly supports 2.3 million U.S. jobs and indirectly many more. In addition to putting these jobs at risk, these cuts run counter to the administration’s own goals of promoting economic growth and reducing wasteful spending. We hope Congress will stand up for business owners, workers, and consumers by blocking the proposed 2020 budget cuts.”
The ACEEE statement also said that the DOE's appliance standards, vehicle emissions and building codes programs will save Americans billions of dollars through 2030.
Trump’s budget must go through a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, in which all appropriations bills must begin. In previous years the presidential administration has proposed major cuts to EPA and clean energy programs beyond even what was announced this week.
For instance, two years ago the newly installed Trump Administration proposed 31 percent cuts to EPA funding for fiscal 2018, but the Republican-controlled Congress approved an $8.1 billion budget that kept the agency level with fiscal 2017.