Dems urge appropriators to fund renewables, efficiency

Source: Hannah Hess, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, April 6, 2017

More than 135 Democrats Wednesday urged House appropriators to provide strong funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs at the Department of Energy, an area where they might find common ground with climate-friendly GOP lawmakers.

President Trump’s budget blueprint released last month called for eliminating DOE programs like the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy in fiscal 2018. It also proposed a 53 percent budget cut to DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and a 17 percent reduction to the Office of Science, which oversees the majority of the national laboratories (Greenwire, March 16).

The Democrats’ letter to the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee raises national security as a reason for strong funding for EERE in the fiscal 2018 spending bill.

“We must invest to remain competitive, or we risk falling behind,” it states.

“By prioritizing funding for EERE, Congress will be signaling to our scientists and engineers at home and around the world that we are serious about rising to meet the growing demand for cheaper, more sustainable energy,” urged the Democrats, led by Rep. Eric Swalwell of California.

“By preserving our capacity to innovate, we will continue to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, enhance our competitiveness and create good American jobs well into the future,” they added.

Clean energy programs at DOE are also an area in which the small group of Republicans who want to take legislative action related to climate change have signaled they will split with Trump (E&E Daily, March 21).